Snow and ice removal is something we all have to deal with every winter. Most of us use chemical deicers to clear our stairs, sidewalks and walkways. But in large doses, many popular snow removal methods can be harmful to our streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.
There are lots of ways you can keep walkways safe for you and your family, while also helping to reduce pollution to our waterways. Read on for some helpful guidelines for removing snow and ice the Bay-friendly way.
A snow storm isn’t much different than a rain storm. Snow and ice eventually melt and run off roads, sidewalks and parking lots. As it flows across the land, melted snow and ice can wash deicer and other harmful pollutants into streams and storm drains.
Think about all of the deicer used on roads, sidewalks and parking lots throughout the region. The runoff coming from your walkway or driveway may not cause much harm by itself. But collectively, all of that deicer adds harmful amounts of salt and nutrients to the Bay and its local waterways.
Deicer can be particularly harmful to freshwater ponds, lakes, streams and rivers. Salt may be toxic to animals that live in these fresh water bodies.
Deicer can also harm plants growing in your yard. Many trees, shrubs and grasses can’t tolerate salty water that runs off walkways and driveways in winter.
There are several types of deicers to choose from. Use this list to help you make the best decision for your family and the Chesapeake Bay.
Whatever you do, never use fertilizer as a deicer. The nutrients in fertilizer and urea-containing deicers can run off your property, polluting local rivers and the Bay.
Even if you use rock salt, you can apply it in a way that keeps you and your family safe while causing the least amount of harm to plants and local waterways. Keep these tips in mind when applying deicer:
Sometimes you don’t need to use deicer. To treat small, thin areas of ice, try the following techniques: