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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Winter Snow and Ice Removal 

The Issue 

According to a 2012 report from the Illinois State Water Survey, chloride concentrations in Illinois waterways have been steadily increasing since the 1960s. Much of the increase can be attributed to road salts that are used in the winter to melt snow from sidewalks, driveways and roads. These chlorides never fully dissipate when stormwater runoff carries road salt into storm drains and streams. Once in the water, there is no way to remove the chloride, which can become harmful for fish and plant life. It takes only one teaspoon of road salt to permanently pollute five gallons of water.

Residential Best Management Practices 

Residents can reduce use of road salt by utilizing best management practices for snow and ice removal, including:

  • Removing snow prior to applying a deicer.
  • Using just enough deicer to reduce safety hazard.
  • Sweeping up and properly storing road salt after a snow storm for reuse.
  • Using alternative methods, such as a beet juice derivative, to minimize the formation of ice.
  • Using a hand-held spreader to apply a consistent amount.
  • Using less than 4 pounds of salt per 1,000 square feet (an average parking space is about 150 square feet). One pound of salt is approximately a heaping 12-ounce coffee mug. Remember, more salt does not mean more melting.
  • Sharing your knowledge about the impacts chlorides have on our local waterways.

Municipal and Private Deicing Operations

DuPage County Stormwater Management is working with the DuPage County Division of Transportation, DuPage River Salt Creek Workgroup (DRSCW) and other organizations to educate public entities and private companies about alternative deicing methods and best management practices to reduce salt reaching DuPage County's waterways. Two deicing workshops are held each year for public and private entities. Participants who passed a deicing exam are recognized as having received training in best management practices to reduce pollutant loads originating from deicing operations.

More Information

Easy on the Salt

Water Quality Winter Comic Strip