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Expectations for all municipalities will begin with an assessment of the existing winter maintenance practices and designing a plan to improve practices. The MS4s will have an additional requirement to report progress on the use of improved winter maintenance practices to the MPCA.
The purpose of this assessment is to determine where opportunities exist to make reductions in salt use. The information in the CMP may be used by municipalities to assess existing practices, specifically the assessment criteria in Appendix B. For a quicker and more thorough assessment, the online WMAt, currently under development, could be used. The WMAt designed to be an easy-to-use web-based tool. This tool will allow municipalities to evaluate their current winter maintenance program at a very detailed level and create a customized plan for implementing salt savings. The tool will allow an individual to assess their current practices and speculate on potential future practices to understand how to reduce the use of chlorides while still providing an acceptable level of service.
This tool is developed for winter maintenance professionals with a broad and detailed understanding of the winter maintenance operations. These professionals should conduct the assessment, then set and share the goals so that the organization can work to meet the goals.
Municipalities can choose to assess existing practices using any means. Municipalities should identify practices to improve winter maintenance activities, with priority on eliminating remedial or unacceptable practices. The implementation goal for each MS4 will be specific to the MS4.
Each municipality will have a unique implementation goal. Some municipalities have already made substantial improvements in practices and require minor effort to improve practices. For leading edge operations it is worthwhile to note the technology and tools for further reductions of salt use are constantly evolving and changing. Organizations currently demonstrating the best practices will still have to dedicate time and resources to stay current with the industry. Leading edge operations could consider sharing their experiences with other organizations that are attempting to lower salt use. For organizations that are just beginning reductions, it may be worthwhile to observe the operations and equipment of those who have already made progress on reducing salt. Networking with other operators could be part of the organization’s plan. Organizations outside of Minnesota may also have valuable insights. Many municipalities in the Midwest and Canada have developed expertise in different areas of winter maintenance and are recognized by their peers across the nations.