Our last Sustainability Chats of 2021 was a timely topic - salt use. As we quickly approach another Wisconsin winter, we know that conditions can be precarious on roadways, sidewalks and private driveways. Many turn to salt as a way to help melt snow and ice and prevent dangerous accidents. While salting generously seems like a great idea for safety sake, that salt doesn't magically melt away like the snow and ice. Instead, that salt is finding its way into our local fresh waterways and ground water.
Allison Madison, Sustainability & Development Coordinator for Wisconsin Salt Wise, kicked off our chat discussing the many ways salt impacts our fresh water ecosystems. She also highlighted how some municipalities and private businesses around the state are making significant changes and reductions to their salt use when it comes to keeping Wisconsin roads clear of snow and ice.
WI Salt Wise is a coalition of organizations from across Wisconsin working together to reduce salt pollution in our lakes, streams and drinking water. Our primary goals are to: educate 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 right amount of salt for conditions.
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We also had Lewis Kuhlman, Environmental Planner for the City of La Crosse, join us to talk about the strides the City of La Crosse is making when it comes to curbing salt use. Lewis shared that the City uses a 95/5 mixture of sand to salt to help limit the amount of salt they spread, and the City is looking into using more brine trucks as pre-treatment before significant storms.
If you want to watch the entire presentation, check out the playback video below.