As more research emerges on the detrimental impact of chloride use in the snow and ice management industry (and other industries, to be fair), SIMA, state and provincial entities, and private organizations have begun to take steps to work together to increase dialogue on the topic and to work toward sustainable use policies and standards. While these issues may not be in your backyard, in areas where wildlife, waterways and drinking water are being adversely impacted, momentum to impact change is building. This map showcases some of the areas where work is being done and by whom.
Minnesota has been at the forefront of researching the impact of chlorides in surface water and groundwater for years. Fortin Consulting was hired to develop the state’s first Winter Parking Lot and Sidewalk Maintenance Manual to address the issues of salt over-application. Several states and municipalities have used this work as a framework to build their own best practices. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency implemented the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area Chloride Management Plan in February 2016 to develop the framework to assist local partners in minimizing chloride use.
McHenry County was among the first municipalities to test and eventually fully adopt the use of salt brine vs. solid rock salt as a best practice. This work sparked a great deal of municipalities taking action via the Association of Public Works (APWA), led by now retired McHenry County DPW Supervisor Mark DeVries.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) of Canada hosted a Great Lakes Chloride Forum in Toronto, Ontario, in September 2017. It is working with Smart About Salt, Landscape Ontario, WIT Advisers, property managers and other organizations to advocate for sustainable salt policies and education.
A collaboration of The FUND forLake George, The Lake GeorgeWater keeper, and the S.A.V.E. Lake George Coalition are working to achieve the Sustainable Winter Management (SWiM™) SR50™ salt reduction certification by 2020 throughout all municipalities in thewatershed. The group has hostedthree Salt Reduction Summits since 2015.
The Northern Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has created a stakeholder-driven Salt Management Strategies (SaMS) Initiative to reduce chloride loads in the Accotink Creek watershed, with the goal that the strategy would be applicable to the northern Virginia region at large.
In September 2017, the University of Vermont Extension, Lake Champlain Sea Grant, and the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District hosted the first Lake Champlain Watershed Deicing Conference.
New Hampshire was the first state to attempt to tie salt use efficiency to liability protection. Beginning in 2013, commercial salt applicators certified by the state’s Department of Environmental Services and the property owners or managers who hire them are granted liability protection against damages arising from snow and ice. In addition to the Green Snow Pro Certification, the University of New Hampshire and SIMA have partnered to host four Salt Reduction Symposiums and to provide continuing education training.
Note: This list is not exhaustive but a representation of the work being done as research continues to identify patterns and areas of the country where concerning levels of chlorides are present. Source: SIMA, WIT Advisers