Waterwise Wednesday: No Salt, Please

big salt in the plate isolated over white

Just one teaspoon of salt in five gallons of water creates a concentration toxic to some aquatic life and increases the corrosivness of water.

Road salts and most deicers contain chloride. When the snow and ice melt, the salty runoff flows down the storm drains to the North Platte River. Chloride is virtually impossible to remove from a waterbody.

Avoid chloride pollution with these tips:
– Shovel early and often to prevent snow compaction and ice formation.

– Scrape ice with an ice scraper or ice chisel.

– Salt or de-ice as a last resort. Salt or de-ice ONLY if pavement temperature is warm enough for application to be effective. Otherwise, lightly sprinkle sand for traction.

– Sweep residue after the melt to prevent residual salt, de-icer, or sand from washing into storm drains.

Photo © Ivan Kopylov

Waterwise Wednesday: Seeing Salty Sidewalks

If there is a layer of salt remaining on the driveway or sidewalk after the ice melts, too much salt got sprinkled. If you find excess sand or salt, sweep it up and throw it away so that it is not washed into the storm sewer.

One teaspoon of salt is enough to contaminate five gallons of water forever. Salts, like the de-icers we use in winter, stay in water without settling out contaminating and damaging the North Platte River and freshwater lakes where we fish.