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Winter Weather Preparation

Salt can make it safer for us to walk and drive around. However, excess salt can find its way down the storm drain when the ice melts. When salt (chloride) levels get too high, it harms water quality (especially our drinking water), impacts plants and animals, and damages infrastructure and vehicles.

In fact, salt levels in the Potomac River and Occoquan Reservoir - both of which are local drinking water sources - have risen noticeably over the past decades, with average concentrations more than doubling! Salty water is difficult to treat and can lead to increased treatment and maintenance costs for water suppliers.

Salty water also causes corrosion and damage to vehicles, roads, bridges, sidewalks and parking lots leads to higher maintenance and replacements costs. Plus the extra salinity can have a negative impact on freshwater fish and other aquatic life that live in our streams.

How to prevent it:

  • Shovel first. A shovel might be all you need to clear away the snow. By shoveling first, you can ensure you are using the right amount of salt.

  • Salt less. Make sure you are following directions on how much salt to apply and only use it where needed.

  • Reuse excess salt. After the storm, sweep up the excess salt and save it for a later use.

  • Learn more winter salt tips at our resources page.

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