Cold Weather Environmental Tips
Whether you enjoy winter activities, or loathe any temps under 70 degrees, it’s good to have a few survival tips for our yards and waterways to help our surroundings survive safely until spring. When snow and ice cover driveways and walks, we often apply deicers like salt or sodium chloride. While these melt the ice as desired, they also dissolve and flow into street drains that lead directly to our rivers and streams. Here are a few tips from the Clinton River Watershed council to reduce the impact of deicers and prevent pollution year round.
- Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) has fewer adverse environmental impacts than salt and doesn’t cause corrosion. CMA is recommended for environmentally sensitive areas.
- Bare Ground is a deicer that is available at your local hardware store. This product is a bit more expensive up front, but is natural and biodegradable.
- Safe Step is safe for children, pets, and lawns. It is effective to -10 degrees and helps keep ice from refreezing 2.5 times longer than other deicers. It is available at most hardware stores.
- Use the minimum amount of salt needed to safely clear your driveways and walks.
- Shovel early and often – there is no substitute for muscle and elbow grease! Doing this reduces the amount of deicers that are needed.
- Reduce access to your home in the winter and thus eliminate the need to clear or deice. Every doorway that isn’t used means there is less deicer washing into the storm basins.
- Avoid fertilizers as deicers. These include urea, potassium chloride (potash), ammonium, etc. These often cost more than alternatives and are harder on the environment.
- Limit use of sand, which may provide traction but does not melt ice. When sand is washed into storm drains, it ends up in rivers and streams, increasing the amount of unwanted sediment.
Every little change in habit helps us protect our precious Michigan waterways.