MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO). In an effort to protect the environment, Minneapolis residents are being asked to use less salt to de-icing their sidewalks and driveways during winter.
When snow melts, salt from icy roads can seep into storm drains, lakes, and groundwater. It can be harmful to fish, plants, or pets.
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According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency which states that it is increasing in water bodies, 50 Minnesota streams and lakes have too high levels of chlorideto meet the standards designed to protect fish and aquatic life. Additional 75 water bodies have levels of chloride near the level.
The city’s pledge not to salt wastefully is intended to prevent further salt contamination. It hopes residents will choose to use it sparingly or find other alternatives.
We know salt for winter road management can be a tool and we depend on it,” said Shahram Missaghi (water resources regulatory coordinator at Minneapolis Public Works). But it is important to find the right balance between safety and a healthy environment.
Elena Nelson, coowner of Nicollet Ace Hardware, near Kingfield, stated that her customers are more interested in using ice melts without salt or natural relief like salt and chemical-free grit. This is crushed rock.
It does not melt ice, but it gives people traction when they walk on their sidewalks or driveways.
It is trending upwards, and we are selling more every year, she stated.
Deborah Pina, Minneapolis, said that she switched to the alternative two-years ago because it is better for her concrete driveway.
She said that anything that will help to keep our lakes and waterways clean and so that everyone can enjoy it come the summer, I believe, is beneficial.
Road salt can also cause expensive damage to bridges or roads. Missaghi said that Minneapolis still uses salt to plough roads in snowstorms, but that it has reduced the use over the past two decades.
We know salt is essential, but how much can we use to keep it safe? He said.