How you can help keep Lake Champlain clean:

Reduce Salt Use in Winter

Getting ready for winter in Vermont involves everything from putting on your snow tires to stocking up on firewood. You might also keep rock salt handy for dealing with ice on your steps or driveway.

But salt use can contribute to water pollution in Vermont’s lakes, rivers, and streams and harm vegetation. In fact, it only takes one teaspoon of salt to permanently pollute 5 gallons of water.

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How much salt should you use?

A 12-oz. coffee cup of rock salt can effectively cover a 20-foot long driveway or 10 sidewalk squares, according to UVM’s Lake Champlain Sea Grant Program.

Temperature matters

Salt only works on pavement with a temperature of 15 degrees or higher, so be sure to measure the pavement’s temperature beforehand. Use a thermometer for an accurate temperature reading on your driveway, sidewalk, or walkway.

If you need to use salt, remember these tips:

  • Before anything, shovel away ice or snow before putting salt onto a hard surface.
  • Maintain 3-inch spacing between grains of salt. A general rule of thumb is to use no more than 1 to 1.5 cups per every two parking lot spaces.
  • Sweep up extra salt and reuse it later. If you inadvertently use too much and leave it on the pavement, the salt will run off into a local storm drain, nearby vegetation, or water body. Be sure to clean up and reuse salt to do your part.