Getting ready for winter in Vermont involves everything from putting on your snow tires to stacking up on firewood. You might also keep rock salt handy for those icy, snowy mornings in your driveway or walkway. Road salt melts ice to keep streets, sidewalks, and other walkable areas clear during winter months.
But using rock salt in the winter months can contribute to water pollution in Vermont’s lakes, rivers, and streams.
More than 48 billion pounds of salt is spread on icy roadways in the United States each year. Still, even using small amounts of salt around your driveway or walkways can have lasting effects, as a single 50-pound bag of salt can contaminate over 10,000 gallons of water.
That’s because salt washes off roads, parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks and can kill vegetation, seep into drinking water wells, flow into local water bodies, and harm fish and other aquatic life.