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This group includes those that have a smaller, but important, role in reducing the amount of salt entering surface and ground water.

Those awarding maintenance contracts

The property manager or contracts department for any organization hiring winter maintenance services should consider requiring those bidding on work to have successfully completed the MPCA Smart Salting training. When crews are on-site conducting maintenance work a high percentage (to be determined by contracts department) should have successfully completed the training within the past five years. Here are things to consider when negotiating a contract for winter maintenance services:

  • Have all contracted and landlord winter maintenance workers applying salt attend the MPCA Smart Salting training.
  • Charge for level of service (i.e., hourly, event-based or seasonally), not per pound of product.
  • Develop a Snow and Ice Policy and set clear expectations (see Smart Salting training website for example policies).
  • Clean up accidentally spilled piles of salt.
  • Use mechanical methods of snow and ice removal (plow, shovel, brush, blow) prior to using any chemical control – capabilities needed.
  • If using sand, conduct year-around sweeping to remove any excess product applied in winter.
  • Record what and how much product is applied for each event.
  • Calibrate all equipment at least annually and document the results.
  • Use salt (NaCl) only if pavement temperature is above 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Find ways to wet salt – 30% less material can be used, it works faster and stays in place Show progress towards lower application rates based on the

MPCA’s training program.

Some example language to consider

Snow plowing and deicing of parking lots will be done in a manner similar to guidelines provided under both the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Transportation Winter Parking Lot and Sidewalk Maintenance manual provided to LESSOR.

LESSOR shall request LESSOR’S vendor to attend Smart Salting training offered by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The following link provides information about the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Road Salt Education Program.

Grant-giving organizations

Ensure that grant opportunities are available for protection and restoration of surface and ground waters for chloride. Consider ways to ensure a simple application process and equal access to funds for non-traditional source reduction (pollution prevention) projects addressing chloride. Possible areas include:

  • Research or implementation of reduced-salt strategies to winter maintenance.
  • Research or implementation of lower or no salt pavement strategies.
  • Citizen involvement on environmental impacts and solutions.
  • Research or implementation of changing winter driver behavior and expectations.
  • Research high efficiency residential water softening and non-chloride options.
  • Re-using waste stream products for deicing.
  • Research or implementation of urban design solutions that reduce salt use. (Examples: parking ramps/covered parking as an alternative to vast parking lots. Skyways or covered walkways. Transit-oriented development so people have alternatives to driving.)

Driver education programs and Department of Driver and Vehicle Services

For all new drivers, those getting additional licenses such as commercial or motorcycle licenses, and those moving into Minnesota, consider educating about winter tires, appropriate winter driving, and the environmental impacts of salt. Include training on winter driving, the temperature range at which salt does not work, how bridge decks and ramps freeze before the roads, and other tips for safe winter driving. Teach drivers to respect the plowing operations and take pressure off of public works departments for instantly cleared surfaces. Send information with driver license renewals to current drivers on tips for winter driving.

Pavement designers, researchers, engineers

Become educated on the issues with high-salt-use surfaces and the impacts to water resources. Look for opportunities to invent, test, and implement lower-salt-use pavement surfaces. This includes sidewalks, parking lots, roads, bridges, ramps, trails, parking ramps, steps or other highly salted surfaces in the winter months. Possible areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Permeable surfaces
  • Flexible surfaces
  • Heated surfaces
  • Different color or texture of surfaces
  • Smaller surfaces
  • Pavement overlays

Water experts in most any field including limnologists, hydrologists, biologists, chemists

Understand the impacts of chloride to water resources and the pathways it takes to get there. Look for opportunities to invent, test, and implement techniques to prevent salt from entering water resources after application or for strategies to mitigate for it. Problem areas to consider include:

  • Recovering salt after application to paved surfaces
  • Options for treating chloride in stormwater ponds
  • Research the impacts of infiltration into ground water versus surface flow to surface waters
  • Options for mitigating chloride already present in surface waters
  • Capturing and reusing salt water (truck wash, runoff, waste water discharge)


The primary source of chloride from agricultural lands in the TCMA is from fertilizers and land application of food processing waste and biosolids from municipal sewage treatment. Excessive chloride concentrations on agricultural lands can be harmful to crop growth in addition to contributing to elevated levels of chloride in surface runoff and groundwater infiltration. Conservation practices and nutrient management not only protect water resources, but can save farmers money. Development and implementation of nutrient management plans could potentially be conducted for agricultural lands. Conservation practices and nutrient management planning information and guidance can be found at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website.

Other state organizations

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) should continue to monitor chloride in drinking water, as resources allow. The Metropolitan Council may continue to monitor chloride in lakes, wetlands, streams, and groundwater, as well as chloride in wastewater discharges in the TCMA. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) could continue to monitor chloride impacts on aquatic life, plants, and animals. The Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) will continue to administer grant programs to protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams in addition to protecting groundwater and drinking water sources from degradation, as resources allow.

The MnDOT should continue to provide in-house training and leadership throughout the state in an effort to enable the implementation of effective chloride reducing BMPs. This includes research on innovative technology and passing the knowledge on to others. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture could potentially work with farmers to develop nutrient management plans, which include methods to reduce chloride-based fertilizers.

This page was last edited on 23 November 2022, at 16:12.