This week is Wisconsin Salt Awareness Week, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is reminding people to use less salt on their sidewalks.
Winter brings a never-melting coat of ice and snow to Northern Wisconsin, and many people turn to salt as a solution to slippery sidewalks and roads.
But Suzan Limberg from the Wisconsin DNR says using too much salt can do more harm than good.
“Once it gets excessive, it’s not good for our roads or other infrastructure or our environment,” she said.
Limberg said only a teaspoon of salt is enough to pollute five gallons of water.
And once salt gets into the environment, it’s hard to get rid of.
That can be especially bad for Northwoods’ lakes.
“It can be toxic to aquatic life, so from fish to plants to insects that live in lakes,” Limberg said.
She said when too much salt ends up in lakes, it can decrease fish growth and sometimes lead to fish kill.
So what can you do to reduce salt use this winter?
The Wisconsin DNR recommends shoveling snow as much as possible before turning to salt.
And when you do use salt, don’t use a lot.
Limberg said a coffee mug of salt is enough for a 20-foot driveway.
For more information about the impact of salt in Wisconsin, Wisconsin Salt Wise is hosting daily webinars about the impact of chlorides. Information and links to the free webinars can be found here: https://www.wisaltwise.com/