Archived News: This news release is more than one year old and may include outdated information.

Residents should try to manually remove snow as soon as possible to avoid slick conditions and unnecessary salt use, especially on paths and sidewalks.

While the first snow is here, residents may use this time to brush up on how to use salt responsibility this winter season and make sure winter maintenance kits are stocked for the next round of winter weather in three easy steps.

Step 1: Avoid Over Salting

Over salting sidewalks is common, however very preventable. A 12-ounce coffee mug full of salt is enough to treat a 20-foot driveway or 10 sidewalk squares.

Brushing and clearing the snow as soon as it stops falling will make for easy removal. If left unattended, the snow may freeze to the pavement and be harder to remove, thus leading to possible, unnecessary salt use.

Step 2: Prepare Winter Snow Removal Kit

  • Pavement ice scraper
  • Handheld salt spreader or 12-ounce cup/mug to measure salt application
  • Broom for manually clearing snow first and sweeping up any excess salt or sand
  • Reliable shovel

Other things residents can do before the next snow:

  • Clear sidewalks and driveways manually soon after the storm before snow turns to ice.
  • If you use salt, scatter to keep three inches between the grains. A little goes a long way.
  • When pavement temperatures drop below 15 degrees, salt won’t work. Switch to sand for traction or use a different ice melter that works at lower temperatures.
  • Clear storm drains of snow to allow snow melt to drain. Never use salt to clear storm drains.
  • Choose a City of Madison salt-certified professional, if hiring for snow removal
  • Ask your favorite local businesses to hire a salt-certified contractor for snow removal.

Step 3: Learn about the Impact of Salt

It only takes one teaspoon of salt to permanently pollute five gallons of water. When over-salting happens, salt impacts our environment and infrastructure. It travels into our lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands, putting our aquatic life at risk and endangers our freshwater resources.

An easy way to be mindful of salt use, is to be “salt wise.” Wisconsin Salt Wise is a coalition of organizations from across Dane County working together to reduce salt pollution in our lakes, streams and drinking water. WI SaltWise is a great resource for residents to learn about salt use, its impacts on our community and salt-certified winter maintenance professionals in the community.


Fall, Winter