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Manage salt use

Help reduce the impact of salt use on the environment

Salt impacts the environment

Salt is used on roads, sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways to help make winter driving and walking conditions safer. Unfortunately, salt doesn’t disappear when the snow and ice melts. Salt mixes with water from rain and melting snow, and makes its way to our rivers and lakes. Over time this harms our environment, wildlife, and quality of our drinking water.

Here are some tips to help manage salt use, stay safe, and protect the environment:

  • Reduce the risk of slipping and falling by dressing for the weather and wearing boots with good treads.  Consider adding ice grippers to shoes and boots for extra grip.
  • Install winter tires to give you better traction when driving in winter.
  • Reduce your driving speed to give you more time to react to winter road conditions.
  • Keep distance and give right-of-way to winter maintenance vehicles.
  • Drivers need to give cyclists extra space in snowy weather conditions.
  • Plan and give yourself more time to get to your destinations.

Use less salt

  • Avoid ice build-up and reduce salt use by clearing snow from driveways and walkways as soon as possible.
  • Don’t pile your snow where it could melt across paved areas and re-freeze creating a slipping hazard.
  • Keep water from turning into ice by cleaning and repairing eaves troughs and clear storm drains.
  • Make sure downspouts are directed away from driveways and walkways.

If you hire someone to clear your driveway, look for contractors that are Smart About Salt. They’re trained to improve winter salting practices.

If applying salt, consider these tips:

  • Before snow falls or temperatures drop to freezing, apply a small amount of salt across your driveway to help prevent ice and snow from sticking.
  • After a snowfall, salt should only be used once the snow is removed and only in areas needed for safety.
  • Salt only melts ice and snow at temperatures above -10C. When it’s too cold for salt to work, alternatives such as sand, grit, non-clumping kitty litter or magnesium chloride can be used. Although these products don’t melt ice, they can be used for traction to avoid slips/falls.