Not all approaches to snow removal are stormwater friendly. Deicing products can have negative environmental impacts when melted snow and ice carry runoff into our ditches, streams, and rivers. Overuse of certain products, such as salts, can also damage driveways, sidewalks, vehicles, and vegetation and can be a hazard to pets.
For more information, view the Winter Snow and Ice Removal Stormwater Flyer (PDF).
What Can You Do?
- Shovel early in the day. The sun will warm the surface and help melt new snow, preventing the need for deicers.
- Shovel often so snow does not become compacted and turn to ice.
- Shovel or plow your driveway and sidewalks before spreading deicer.
- Shovel before you drive a vehicle on the driveway to reduce packing snow.
- Limit the use of deicers, especially those with the most negative impacts.
- Use deicers sparingly. You can always reapply if you used too little.
- Check the label before applying. Many deicers will not work in extremely low temperatures.
- Use sand sparingly. Sand will not melt snow or ice, but will increase traction. Sweep up excess sand to avoid adding sediment to nearby waterways.
Are Some Deicers Better Than Others?
It is difficult to find a deicing product that does not contain at least one controversial ingredient. Be sure to read the label. Use products that contain little, or no, sodium chloride. Look for products labeled "pet friendly". These deicers are typically more environmentally friendly than others. The best approach to protecting the environment is to minimize the use of deicers. Consider the tips on this page to maintain safe surfaces, while also protecting our local waterways.