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. Expectations like these come with costs — the cost of the tens of thousands of tons of salt used every year and the unmeasurable cost of our environment’s health.
Our current practices are not sustainable; Road salt has been used as a deicer on streets in the Dane County region since the late 1950s, and over the last 50 years, average lake water concentrations have steadily increased — in Lake Mendota, chloride concentrations increase about 1 mg/L each year. If that rate continues, the waters will eventually taste salty and exceed toxic concentrations for aquatic life.
Oversalting is hard on our tax dollars as well. If we followed specific salting guidelines that recommend correct salt usage, that cost would significantly decrease and the excess money could be put toward improving Wisconsin in other ways.
Remember this winter that the consequences of wanting to get where you’re going as fast as possible are expensive, irreversible and can be harmful to you and our environment. Limiting our salt use today will create a better environment, and a healthier wallet, for tomorrow.
WI Salt Wise thanks the stores below for posting WI Salt Wise signs in their locations this winter.
We appreciate their help getting the word out about smart winter maintenance!