With the first snowflakes falling, many are dreaming of a White Christmas. However, those dreams can quickly turn to a nightmare if we are not responsible with removing the snow. While falling snow quickly makes us think of snowplows and ice melt, all that de-icers goes straight to our streams and waterways. The increase in chemical de-icers and not only kills plants but can harm fish and other aquatic life.
Responsible Snow Removal
Homeowners and businesses alike use salt or alternative de-icing chemicals to melt snow and ice to ensure safety during winter months. Melting snow and ice generate water that becomes storm water runoff. As the runoff moves over paved surfaces, it collects soil, silt, sand, salt, and other pollutants and carries them in the surface water causing contamination. De-icing can reduce oxygen demand levels (in streams and rivers) and/or increase salinity in our surface waters which affects the plant life adjacent to pavements and also the plant and animal life in our streams and rivers. In order to minimize the potential environmental impact it is imperative that product directions are carefully followed to minimize the amount of de-icer used so that excess salt does not contaminate our water. In addition, environmentally preferable de-icing products should be used to reduce your impact on the environment.
- Products with CMA or calcium chloride as the main ingredient are preferable.
- When possible avoid products with rock salt and urea.
- Avoid kitty litter, it is not a de-icer and should not be used, at it will pollute waterways and can get messy when tracked indoors.
Winter Snow and Ice leads to Springtime Flooding
Winter snow melt and spring rains can create flooding problems for home owners in low lying areas, as well as areas with poor drainage or other conditions. However, even homeowners in low flood prone areas can be at risk. While homeowners insurance does not cover flooding Flood insurance is available regardless of whether or not you live in a flood plain through FEMA. See their website www.floodsmart.gov/ or call 1-800-427-4661.