Winter Salt Smart: This Winter, Use Less Salt

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Did You Know?

It only takes one teaspoon of salt to permanently pollute 5 gallons of water.

Salt can:

  • Raise sodium levels in our drinking water and increase treatment costs.
  • Harm pets, fish, plants and other wildlife.
  • Corrode vehicles, roads, bridges and parking lots.

Since there’s no easy or cheap way to remove salt from our environment, we can all do our part to reduce the amount of salt we use and be #WinterSaltSmart by following the below tips.

How Can I Be #WinterSaltSmart?

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In Arlington and across the region, we are watching our winter salt use – here’s how you can too:

  • Shovel early.  Remove snow from pavements before it turns to ice. Apply salt only after clearing snow.
  • Use less. More salt does not mean more melting.  A 12-ounce coffee mug of salt is enough for a 20-foot driveway or about 10 sidewalk squares. 
  • Spread evenly. Don't let it clump up. Aim for about 3 inches between pieces of rock salt.
  • Watch the temps. When it is colder than 15°F do not apply winter salt – it will not work. Instead, consider building traction with alternatives like sand or native bird seed. 
  • Sweep it up. After ice melts, sweep your salt into safe storage to keep out of our rivers and streams. 
  • Divert downspouts. Direct your downspouts to drain onto lawn areas - not sidewalks or driveways.
  • Stay off the roads. Gather supplies beforehand and if possible, plan to stay off the roads until the snow melts. 

When we use less salt, we protect our plants, pets, streams, and drinking water sources.

How is Arlington Helping Reduce Salt Use? 

Brine uses a quarter of the salt contained in traditional rock salt. When the County uses brine instead of rock salt on County roads, we can limit how much salt ends up in our drinking water sources. 

Arlington County is also participating in the Northern Virginia Salt Management Strategy:

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Spread Evenly Winter Salt Smart

Sweep up leftover salt

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