Salt and De – Icers… Forest Lake Realtor asks, “Are They Safe”?

Shoveling Snow

Image by iChris via Flickr

It’s not quite that time of year yet, but with the cooler weather I have begun my fall preparation for the cooler weather and yes, the snow to come.

For years I have wondered if the salt is killing off my perennials and I note each spring how the edges of each road is burned and dead.  I watch as my neighbors and I replant the grass seed, but if done too soon, the new seed doesn’t grow.  I then wonder what the effects of these deicers is doing to the environment and our waterways as all of these chemicals run down the street and into our waterways.  According to Living Green 365 there are some ways we can help to keep our driveways and sidewalks safe this coming winter while reducing the toxicity to the earth and its waters.  I was shocked to read that just one teaspoon of salt will contaminate 5 gallons of water forever.  Forever is a very long time!!!

The article goes on to a few prevention tasks to reduce the build up of ice.

1. Shovel sidewalks as soon as possible after a snowfall.

2. Deposit snow into a location where it won’t cause future issues during melting and refreezing.

3. Remove slush and soft snow on those warm days of winter.

4. Fix rain gutters and direct downspouts away from walk and drive ways.

Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA)

Opt for the non salt de-icers such as those containing calcium magnesium acetate (CMA).  Still use these in small quantities.  Only enough to break up the ice, not melt it away.  These types of de-icers still pose a risk to our waterways as they have excess nutrients that find their way into our waterways.

See the MPCA’s Sidewalk Maintenance Manual for further information.

Living in Minnesota certainly poses a few winter time woes, but if you are like me, you find plenty of  activities to enjoy both indoors and out.  With safer De – Icer’s available to us, we will have the great outdoors available for us for a long, long time.


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