The use of road salt to manage snow and ice on roadways and parking lots is polluting water throughout the Chicago region and beyond. While maintaining public safety during winter conditions is absolutely necessary, much of the salt applied to paved surfaces under current practices is excessive, leading to huge economic and environmental costs. The scale of this problem is massive because salt is applied to all paved surfaces including roads, parking lots, driveways and sidewalks.
The good news? There are Sensible Salting Best Management Practices (BMPs) that can safely manage snow and ice while reducing the amount of salt used. The bad news? Current practices that drive the excess use of salt are well-established. So how can we help change behavior and protect water resources?
With transportation agencies working on road salt reduction, the Northwest Water Planning Alliance (NWPA) Sensible Salting Sub-Committee has determined that the next greatest reduction can be achieved by changing salt use practices on parking lots.
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