Use De-icers Smartly and Sparingly

Keep our waterways clean by using de-icer smartly and sparingly.

When the snow melts, do you ever wonder where all that salt goes? It flows over our driveways, sidewalks, and roads, into the nearest catch basin, and directly (untreated) into our waterways.

What’s wrong with salt in our water?

Salt in our fresh water is not good for trees, plants, wildlife, or people. Birds can mistake salt crystals for food, eating them and getting sick. Salt can be toxic to fish and others in aquatic systems. Salt is not good for our trees and plants, and in many wetlands salt-tolerant invasives are crowding out our native vegetation, which then affects the wildlife that lose their food sources. And of course salt in our water supplies is not good for us -- we all know that salt is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Some use sand instead, and while it doesn’t carry chemicals into our waterways, it does clog catch basins and cause flooding. It can also carry other pollutants into our waterways. If used, excess sand should be swept up.

What can you do to keep your pavement safe while also keeping our waterways clean?

  • Shovel early and often. Remove as much snow and ice as you can, and only use de-icer on what you can’t take care of with a shovel.
  • Follow product instructions and only use as much de-icer as you need. More is not better.
  • Remove slush when de-icer has done it's job.
  • For heavy snowfalls, shovel early and often to avoid the snow compacting and forming ice.
  • For wet snow or sleet and freezing rain, apply de-icer product early on to prevent snow from bonding or ice from building up.
  • For more information visit cambridgema.gov/stormwater
Page was posted on 1/9/2020 9:57 AM
Page was last modified on 2/7/2020 12:30 PM
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