MNDOT Working to Use Less Salt When De-Icing During and After Snowstorms

DULUTH, MN – Last winter, the Minnesota Department of Transportation spent nearly 15 million dollars on over 375 million pounds of salt to clear roadways during and after a snowstorm.

Inevitably, salt ends up in the environment having a negative impact on native plants and wildlife.

High salt concentrations in lakes and streams can be toxic to fish and it only takes 1 teaspoon of salt to pollute 5 gallons of water. On land, too much salt in the soil can reduce its ability to retain moisture resulting in stunted tree growth and dead vegetation.

Recently, MNDOT has been testing ways to improve road conditions while using less salt to reduce the environmental impact of de-icing during the winter. Their tests show that when they use rock salt mixed in with a brine, compared to just the solid rock salt, the road cleared faster and used 31% less total salt.

Last year, MNDOT used 41 gallons of liquid per ton of solid salt applied. In their efforts to continue to lessen their impact on the environment, they hope to increase that ratio to 200 gallons of liquid per ton of salt by 2027.

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