Melting Snow: Protect the lakes, rivers (and paws!)

Dog getting paws checked at the Twin Cities Loppet nordic ski race. Photo © Michelle F. Johnson 2011

Sidewalk Salt and Water Quality

As snow and ice melt, it washes into our lakes and the river. The salt and sand sprinkled on hard surfaces, such as sidewalks and driveways, goes with this melting flow and pollutes our lakes, creeks and the river. Once the salt is in the water, there is no way to remove it. Salt is an ongoing threat to water quality.

Just how potent is salt?
The chloride found in one teaspoon of road salt is enough to permanently pollute five gallons of water. Chlorides in high concentrations:

  • negatively impact aquatic organisms
  • harm the structure of aquatic environments by reducing diversity and productivity
  • increase bird deaths
  • damage plants, turf grass, and trees
  • injure the paws of dogs who walk on it

How can you help?

Shovel first
The more snow you can remove from the sidewalk or driveway, the less salt you need. Try to Continue reading