DNR urging less salt use in winter

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 2:44 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - One of the advantages of our mild winter so far is the need to use less salt on roads and sidewalks.

During the middle of this first ever Wisconsin Salt Awareness Week,” the DNR says that’s good news because an increasing salt usage in our state is leading to serious concerns.

In partnership with Wisconsin Salt Wise, the DNR launched the awareness campaign.

“Trying to bring awareness about chloride pollutants and what people can do to reduce their footprint on salt and chlorides released into the environment,” says Suzan Limberg, DNR Storm Water Program Coordinator.

While salt keeps our roads, driveways and sidewalks safe during winter, using more than needed comes with a hefty price.

“The issue with chlorides is that once it gets into the environment it accumulates and doesn’t go away, so our data is showing that our water bodies are getting saltier and saltier,” says Limberg.

According to Limberg, chloride loads in the state’s largest river systems have risen from 600,000 tons annually in the early 2000′s to 800,000 tons in 2018.

Lakes and rivers aren’t the only concern.

“Excess amounts of chlorides aren’t good for us, not good for our pets, our roads and other infrastructure and our environment, and it only takes one teaspoon of salt to pollute five gallons of water and that can be toxic to our freshwater ecosystems,” says Limberg.

She adds that reducing salt usage takes everyone.

“Whether you’re a resident, property manager, a business owner or even a public entity or municipality, everyone has a key role in just being aware and knowing what they can do to reduce their salt impacts. A coffee mug of salt is enough to treat an entire 20 foot driveway or ten sidewalk squares,” explains Limberg.

For many more tips on how to use less salt, while still getting the job done, CLICK HERE.

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