All the salt that we apply to roads and sidewalks ends up in our freshwater. Salt is an effective de-icer, but over-application results in major problems. Salt prematurely ages roads and bridges and causes chloride contamination in our freshwater lakes and streams.
Municipalities throughout the Root-Pike Watershed Basin are working hard this winter to implement various smart salting practices, such as calibrating equipment, incorporating the use of salt brine, educating operators, and avoiding the overapplication of salt.
Dozens of Wisconsin municipalities are striving to improve their winter maintenance programs and slow down the salting of our lakes, streams, and drinking water. Many citizens, however, are not aware that there is a chloride contamination issue. Moreover, they don’t know what their municipalities are doing to protect the watersheds while keeping people safe. It is for this reason that the Wisconsin Salt Wise Partnership, a coalition of organizations across the state working together to reduce salt pollution in our lakes, streams and drinking water, is hosting “Wisconsin Salt Awareness Week” from Monday to Friday (Jan. 24-28).
Wisconsin Salt Awareness Week aims to educate citizens on the issue of salt pollution: how salt impacts freshwater ecosystems, the role of water softening, ideas for teaching kids about salt pollution, and other ways to get involved. Speakers will stream live over YouTube from 12:30-1 p.m. Monday through Friday to share their knowledge and field questions.
Speakers at the event will include Bailey Wilmoth (University of Toledo), Katie Cassidy (University of Minnesota–Duluth), Ken Bradbury (WI Geological and Natural History Survey), Kathy Lake (Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District), Lexi Passante (UW-Milwaukee) and Kevin Anderson (WI Dept. of Public Instruction).