ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) — With winter weather in this weekend’s forecast, you may be planning ahead when it comes to treating slick surfaces around your home.
The bucket of snow salt you keep on hand might be doing more harm than good. Local organizations and Montgomery County are urging us all to think “Salt-Wise” when it comes to winter weather.
“We know that salt is effective, it melts snow and ice, and there’s no doubt about that. It also has impacts on our land and our waterways,” said Carla Reid, CEO and General Manager of WSSC Water.
Montgomery County’s new “Salt-Wise” campaign urges residents to reduce or cut out salt when it comes to treating sidewalks, driveways, and streets and to use alternative melting methods.
Adam Ortiz, director of Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection, said, “We urge people to use green alternatives, organic pet-safe de-icers. They’re available to protect the environment, so look for products that contain CMA, calcium magnesium acetate.”
The county says many people are using more salt than they really need. One 12-ounce coffee mug of salt can treat about ten sidewalk squares.
“After winter weather, be sure to sweep up any leftover to reuse or clean up any spills it can go a long way in helping to keep our water clean,” Ortiz said.
The salt that’s leftover gets washed into streams, creeks, and rivers, which can lead to issues in our water system.
“It weakens our pipes and makes them susceptible to water main breaks, as well as discolored water– which none of our customers like,” Reid said.
The county is working to cut down on its rock salt use on streets by using a liquid brine solution instead.
Chris Conklin, director of Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation, says, “the brine solution has a lower salt content and spreads more evenly. It’s a more effective treatment whenever we get snow before the rain.”