Every year, during the winter season, the roads are typically covered with some sort of de-icer and rock salt. While these products are helpful in combating the freezing temperatures, ice, and snow, it isn’t exactly the best for the environment. Once the ice and snow melt, the water runs into our ground and water systems. Learn more about why traditional rock salt is bad for the environment, and what you can do to protect the ecosystems of our area!
What is Rock Salt?
Simply put, rock salt helps melt away any snow and ice. It consists of calcium chloride, sodium chloride, and sometimes beet juice. The compound make-up could be small rocks, sand, or even a brine form depending on the area. Rock salt works by lowering the freezing point because it adds ions to the snow and ice, and charges the particles.
In large quantities, this has a serious negative effect on the environment. Each area is different depending on the amount of salt, but usually rock salt is applied before the storm to help get the snow and ice melting as quickly as possible during the storm, as well as after.
Where Does It Go?
Rock salt doesn’t just disappear. When it dissolves it will go into the water which ends up contributing to the water pollution by entering ponds, streams, groundwater and more.
What Are The Side Effects?
∙ Groundwater: Salt doesn’t get filtered out of the groundwater quickly, at all. It lays stagnant for a long time, building-up more each winter. In this form, it not only has an effect on humans but animals and vegetation as well.
∙ Aquatic Life: When salt gets into the water, it creates a layer on the bottom of the pond or lake. The salt then traps essential nutrients the fish, amphibians, and invertebrates need to grow and reproduce.
∙ Mammals and Birds: If a mammal (humans included) or a bird ingests too much salt, it could lead to salt toxicity. Some birds consume the salt crystals outright because they look very similar to the normal grit they usually eat. It can lead to acute toxicity and worse.
∙ Wildlife: Deer, moose (depending on the area), and other large mammals enjoy the taste of the salt. When they smell it on the road they will go to it. Being in the road risks the deer from being hit by a car.
So How Can You Improve?
Shovel more often instead of using salt. The more you shovel, the less salt you’ll need. You can also use environmentally safe specialized salt, like the products that Green Ice melt offers. We can guarantee it is better for the environment when used as directed. We have designed our specialized salt so you can use half as much as you usually do! A 5 to 7-pound bag can handle a 1000 square foot area with ease. We’ve also purposely made our ice melt to be green so you can see exactly where you’ve put it down. Green Earth Ice Melt is the more affordable and more effective alternative to any other traditional rock salt. Our products are even safe for pets. If fact, we created a salt specifically to keep your pet’s paws safe during this winter season.