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Be Smart About Salt

12/16/2013 1:40:17 PM

During the winter months, salt and sand applied to our roads, driveways and sidewalks contribute to lake and stream pollution. Fifty pounds of salt - one large bag - can pollute 10,000 gallons of water. That's equivalent to one teaspoon of salt in a five-gallon bucket of water.

To save money and help protect water quality in your neighbor, reduce your salt use.

Shovel first. Clear away as much snow and ice as possible before you use a deicer. Only use deicers on ice, not snow.

Save your salt. Read the label and use salt sparingly. Use about 30 percent less salt by wetting it with some water before applying it to icy patches.

Protect your plants. Keep salt away from salt-sensitive plants. Learn more about salt damage to plants.

Know your stuff. There are many types of deicers and they perform differently at different temperature ranges. The most common deicer, sodium chloride ("rock salt"), only melts ice to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Magnesium chloride and calcium chloride cost more, but work in colder temperatures.

Credit: Earth Gauge

Credit: Earth Gauge

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