Road Salt: Can we have safe roads and healthy streams?
Why do we salt our roads?
Duluth, Minnesota receives an average of 84 inches of snow
per year; most of it falls in the month of January with an
average temperature of 8.4 °F. The resulting snow and
ice covered roads combined with steep hills can lead to pretty
hazardous driving conditions.
Without salt, snow and ice accumulate on roads and bond to
the pavement, making it difficult to remove with snow plows.
Salt applied to the surface causes some of the snow and ice
to melt. The meltwalter combines with the salt to create a
liquid called brine. The brine moves the salt around and contines
the melting process. Traffic across partially melted ice patches
breaks them apart so that plows can remove them.
Are there alternatives?
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is constantly looking
for mothods of ice removal that are more effective and environmentally
friendly than salt.
Recognizing the corrosive and environmentally damaging nature
of winter deicing salt, department maintenance forces have
been going on a "reduced salt diet."
How much salt is a problem?
What other environmental effects can salt have?
Click here to find out! Visit the MPCA's Road Salt and Water Quality website for more information and watch an instructional video by Forin Consulting about winter driveway and sidewalk maintenance.
Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa residents:
Become an Urban Salt Monitoring Volunteer! Find out more.