Back in 2010, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency more than doubled the number of Minnesota waters that are listed as impaired for chloride. A vast majority of that chloride comes from road salt, which is now considered a water pollutant. The chloride from the road salt enters our surface waters and groundwater after snow melts and is harmful to fish, insects and plants. While progress has been made, the State of Minnesota feels that there is still much work to do in order to meet water quality standards and achieve a high level of road safety.
For this reason, the Eden Prairie Streets Division has adopted a few methods of snow removal that are helping to protecting the environment.
These methods include:
- Pre-wetting with road salt to help it stick to the roads and minimize runoff
- Performing anti-icing for a quicker recovery time to get to bare pavement
- Using mechanical removal with snow plows as opposed to dumping more road salt
- Plowing at the onset of a storm as opposed to after an event, which results in the need for less road salt to melt ice-packed roads.
It should also be stated that these are best practices for an overall snow removal program — not just methods to reduce salt usage.
For more information about the salt issue, check out this video produced by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.