Hold the salt! Dane County board wants you to use less salt to m - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Hold the salt! Dane County board wants you to use less salt to melt ice this winter

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There's a new push to use less salt to melt ice and snow this winter. There's a new push to use less salt to melt ice and snow this winter.

MADISON (WKOW) --- There's a new push to use less salt to melt ice and snow this winter. The salt is polluting lakes and water wells. On Thursday, the Dane County board officially got behind the effort.

“We don't need to put down as much salt as we're putting down,” said District 1 Supervisor Mary Kolar.

Looking to reduce the environmental impact of salt in our waterways and drinking system, the board approved a resolution aimed at lowering chloride levels in area lakes and waterways.

Chloride levels have been on the rise in area watersheds, with Lake Wingra showing the most dramatic increase over the past 40 years. Computer modeling conducted for the Wingra Watershed plan said it would take a 60 percent reduction in salt use to bring lake chloride levels back to where they were in the 1970s.

“We've seen chloride levels in our drinking water and streams and lakes and wetlands go up over decades,” said Sue Jones, Dane County Watershed Management Coordinator.

On Thursday, the board passed Resolution 214, as part of a Voluntary Winter Maintenance Program aimed at cutting salt use in half.

“For example, if you have a 20 foot driveway, it only takes a cup of salt to spread that, the correct kind of salt, on your driveway,” Kolar said.

Kolar said elevated chloride levels are already having an environmental impact in Dane County.

“There's a well here in Madison that the levels of chloride in the drinking water already reaching dangerous levels if people have a condition that requires them to have a low sodium diet. The water is dangerous for them to drink.”

Kolar said life will not be able to survive if there is too much salt.

“Phosphorus, we can keep working on it, which we will and we can reduce it. But there's life that can still exist. The more salt, it's likely that plants, fish, us will be harmed,” Kolar said.

The new guidelines don’t set specific numbers for salt reduction. But urge wiser use of chloride deicers throughout the county, especially on private property.

Dane County is already an active participant in Wisconsin Salt Wise, a network of organizations promoting using just enough salt to keep roads and sidewalks safe and water softeners operating properly.

Officials suggest going old school and using a shovel before apply ice to your driveway this winter.

The city is implementing a Voluntary Winter Salt Certification program, open to all in Dane County.

Click here for more information on how to get certified.

Others involved in the salt reduction effort included Epic Systems; Mad Plowing and Mowing; Olson Toon Landscaping; Barnes Inc.; Steve Brown Apartments; UW Health; Strand Associates; city of Sun Prairie; village of DeForest; UW-Madison; Madison Water Utility; Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District; Wisconsin Department of Transportation; Dane County Facilities Management and Dane County Land and Water Resources.

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