1. Take personal responsibility to do the right thing–and talk to others too.

2. A key reason why people over salt is fear of lawsuits from people slipping and falling. A great way to break this dangerous cycle of fear is to enact legislation that limits liability similar to the existing legislation in New Jersey and Illinois.

3. Education works. We are working hard to educate the applicators and the public. We offer trainings and workshops to any type of group. Please contact us to let us know your needs.

Once salt dissolves in water, it forms a solution that we have no solution for. There is just no way to remove salt from an entire lake, creek, or aquifer.

The Basics

Use the Right Amount of Salt

The first step in managing snow and ice on paved surfaces is to mechanically clear the area by plowing, shoveling, scraping, and/or sweeping. Removing snow early and often before it gets packed down goes a long way in lowering the amount of salt you need. It may sound obvious to do this, but it’s surprising how often salt is applied before an area is cleared. If there is a stubborn patch of snow or ice that warrants extra attention, the next step is to identify which deicer to use and apply it at the correct rate.

Use the Correct De-Icing Product

Different products work at different temperatures (see chart below), so it’s important to use the correct product and amount. There should also be about three inches of space between each salt granule. In considering temperature, a person naturally thinks about air temperature. But it’s actually PAVEMENT temperature that is important here. Using a temperature gun is a fun and effective way to properly identify the correct product to use.


Deicing Products Lowest Melting Temperature
Calcium Chloride -20° F
Potassium Acetate -15° F
Magnesium Chloride    5° F
Sodium Chloride (regular salt)  15° F
Potassium Chloride  20° F


Sweep Up (and Re-use) Excess Salt

The next step is to sweep up excess salt once the pavement is clear of snow and ice. The conventional “common sense” approach is to leave the salt there and wait for the next snowfall. But leaving it is a bad idea because when the area is cleared the next time it snows, the salt is pushed off into vegetation or streets that again find its way to stormdrains and ultimately to our waters.

If You See Something, Say Something.

As Minnesotans, we don’t like to be confrontational. We go into a place that has piles of salt out front and we have the tendency to say nothing because we know their intentions of keeping the public safe are good. But in reality, these good intentions are far from good and it’s okay to voice your concerns.  Consider talking to the property manager and encouraging the caretakers to attend free a Smart Salting training. (Find a class near you: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/smart-salting-training.)