Think about next winter’s salt use now

With summer around the corner, it’s time to plan for winter. Yes, you heard me right. As I take my winter slacks to the dry cleaner, you can tell I’m from the North Country with salt rings around the bottom of the pant legs. I need to clean and polish my salt stained shoes and boots, too.

Next I’ll need a pick ax to chisel off the salt encrusted floor mats in my vehicle. One of the causes for over use of salt in our area is the damage it does on our vehicles. I took my car to a mechanic on Long Island and he asked if the car was in the ocean from Hurricane Sandy. He said that’s the only time he’s seen so much corrosion from salt.  

However, the worst problem is when the salt gets into the well water.

I learned about the seriousness of this when we were going through jugs in our water cooler faster than usual. When I saw an employee leaving with a jug of water, I found out her water at home was compromised due to road salt.

Water keeps us alive and we mustn’t take it for granted. Now is the time to start planning on how to manage the roads, sidewalks and parking lots for next winter. Be mindful when putting down heaps of salt around your house and business, which washes into our ground water, lakes and streams.

A report from the Cary Institute points out the effects road salt is having on human health, groundwater and infrastructure while proposing several solutions. It is great to find that several groups already are in use locally. 

Representatives of Lake Clear Association, Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute, AuSable River Association and municipalities have been working to find alternatives to the damaging salt. This awareness now will help avoid the problems by next winter.

It’s hard to start planning for winter when there is snow still on the ground, but to avoid further salt in the wounds, I encourage everyone to help with finding an alternative.

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