Salt is Potentially Damaging to the Environment

MPCA rallying for reduced use of chloride salt on ice.

DULUTH, Minn.- Weather conditions this winter have caused a lot of ice buildup around the Northland.

Covering roads and sidewalks with salt during the winter is routine, but this process can harm to the environment.

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, many of the salt and de–icers that make it on the ground will eventually end up polluting bodies of water including Lake Superior.

Most of these products contain chloride, which can be very harmful to drinking water as melted ice run into storm drains.

It is potentially damaging to the fresh fish population and other species.

“We have fresh water critters out here and it really makes it hard for them to repopulate, eggs are damaged and it will eventually truly affect the population of fish,” said MPCA Public Information Officer Lucie Amundsen.

Experts say one teaspoon of salt can pollute up to five gallons of water.

For temperatures below fifteen degrees, MPCA recommends using alternatives such as sand, poultry grit, and cat litter.

If salt is needed, it is suggested to use less by scattering it lightly with three inches of space between grains.

The MPCA says it only takes about one full coffee mug to treat a 20 foot driveway.

For more information on how chloride affects the environment click here.


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