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Salt is a useful tool to maintain roadways in the winter and keep our tap water soft year-round but it is important to use the right amount  of salt to get the job done.


Best Practices

You can keep sidewalks and driveways safe this winter while protecting our waters by following these simple steps:

Shovel1. Shovel

Clear walkways and other areas before the snow turns to ice. The more snow you remove manually, the less salt you will have to use and the more effective it will be.

Scatter2. Scatter

If you use salt, scatter it so that there is space between the grains. Believe it or not, a coffee mug of salt is enough to treat an entire 20-foot driveway or 10 sidewalk squares. If you see oversalting, follow these simple steps.

Switch3. Switch

When pavement temperatures drop below 15 degrees, salt won’t work. Switch to sand for traction or a different ice melter (PDF) that works at lower temperatures.

Certified4. Select a Certified Contractor

Check to see if your contractor is already certified through the Winter Salt Certification Program. If not, encourage them to become certified and to follow locally developed application rates

Love the Lines5. Love the Lines

Stripes on roads before a storm are anti-icing. They show that your professional maintenance crew is concerned about safety and is saving money, time and protecting our environment!

SaltWiseAllYear6. Be Salt Wise All Year

Water softener salt ends up in local freshwater bodies. If your household softener uses more than 1 bag of salt per month, have a professional tune it up or replace it with a high-efficiency model.


Tips for Motoristscars

The goal of winter procedures is to maintain "passable roadways," or roadways that are free of drifts, snow ridges and as much ice and snow as possible. But expectations for perfect driving conditions have caused us to use excess deicing materials every year. Rather than depending on summer driving conditions in a Wisconsin winter, accept that our weather involves ice and snow. If possible, stay off the roads when it’s snowing. If you must go out remember that snow and ice should be treated as an emergency, so travel accordingly. Read this Motorist Handout for helpful tips!





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Get Certified

In order to reduce oversalting, the City of Madison has created a salt truckvoluntary Winter Salt Certification Program, open to all public and private winter maintenance professionals in Dane County. This program trains applicators on best practices and new methods for fighting snow and ice while keeping parking lots, roads, sidewalks and driveways safe. The program also helps local residents know which applicators are committed to both environmental and public safety. Learn more about this program.


If you are interested in purchasing brine from Dane County you can contact Tim Pelton, Assistant Maintenance Superintendent for Dane County Highway Department at (608) 266-4011.  Please note that the county can only sell to municipal/public entities, not to the private sector. The current price is $0.33 per gallon.

If you are interested in purchasing brine from City of Madison the minimum charge will be $25.00 per fill, which includes 50 gallons of product. After the first 50 gallons, additional brine will cost $0.30/gallon. Please read this document (PDF) for additional details and instructions.


There are a number of tools and resources that can help you use for using the least amount of salt to get the job done. Click on a tool below for more information:



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