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With the first snow officially here, the Engineering Division, in partnership with WI SaltWise would like to remind all Madison residents to assemble an environmentally-friendly winter maintenance kit.

The City is a part of WI Salt Wise, which is a coalition of organizations from across Dane County working together to reduce salt pollution in our lakes, streams and drinking water. WI SaltWise educates residents, leaders and winter maintenance professionals on salt pollution and solutions, provide training and promote best practices to reduce salt pollution and recognize contractors committed to using the “correct” amount of salt for conditions.
Oversalting 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.

Preparation is the first step to clearing snow from an environmentally-friendly perspective. 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.

Preparing for the next snow can be as easy as assembling a kit:

  • Pavement ice scraper
  • Handheld salt spreader for salt application
  • Standard 12-ounce cup/mug to measure appropriately
  • 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 soon after the storm manually before snow turns to ice.
  • If you use salt, scatter so there is space 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 salt certified professional, if hiring for snow removal
  • Ask your favorite local businesses to hire a salt certified contractor for snow removal.


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