Nature and Environment

Because at 160,000 years, the party is just getting started.

Add to My MSN

Earth Gauge Tip of the Week: Smart About Salt

1/17/2012 9:52:50 AM

Tags: salt, pollution, water quality, environment, Earth Gauge

EG

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.

Viewer Tip:  Many cities and states are working to reduce salt use while still keeping streets and sidewalks safe.  Using less salt at home will help protect water quality in your neighborhood - and it will save money, too!

  • Shovel first.  Clear away as much snow and ice as possible before you use a deicer.  Only use deicer 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 at www.ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/id/id-412-w.pdf.
  • 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.

Salt Smarts 

(Sources: Madison Area Municipal Stormwater Partnership.; Tom Scheuler. Snow, Road Salt, and the Chesapeake Bay. The Center for Watershed Protection.; Iowa State University, Centre for Transportation and Research Education. “Prewetting with Salt Brine.”)
 



Related Content

Learn About Environmental Toxins in Your County

Visit Scorecard.org to find out what's in the environment for your county.

Learning About Mold in Your House

Broadening your understanding of mold and mildew in the house will help you to eliminate this hazard...

Herbal Skin Care Basics: Tools, Ingredients, Recipes

Your kitchen likely already has all the tools you need to concoct your own simple, all-natural herba...

Rest in Peace . . . or Get Your Piece?

I’m sitting on the deck of my room at the Northern Queen Inn in Nevada City, California, on a gorgeo...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 

T BRANDT
1/17/2012 11:50:01 PM
It's true that splashing salty water from your sidewalk onto your plants can hurt their growth, but check your arithmetic: 50 lb of salt in 10,000 gal of water is about 1/1000th the salinity of sea water (ie- not significant), and a teaspoon of salt in 1 qt is about the same as sea water, so 1 tsp in 5 gal is only 1/20th of that. The problem comes when repeated splashes deposit the salt in the garden and it's concentrated as the water evaporates. Whether or not your salt use contaminates your local water supply depends on how your local water is supplied. A storm sewer system that puts run-off into the water supply needs to be corrected. Personally, i use solar power to get rid of ice on my sidewalks-- it's usually all gone by July without the use of any salt at all.










Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.