Reducing Road Salt

Road salt does not only affect local lakes, streams and drinking water. Some road salt also ends up in the wastewater sewer system when salty runoff or groundwater flows into open points in the sewer. The influx of salt into the sewer system after a melt or winter rain can put the District close to exceeding the Wisconsin chloride target.

Road salt applicators can help reduce chloride by employing smart winter maintenance practices that minimize the need for salt. Most salt reduction information and resources for road salt applicators are available at

The District recommends that all road salt applicators take the actions below to keep road salt out of the sewer system:

  1. Get certified. All applicators should be certified through the City of Madison's Winter Salt Certification program, which trains winter maintenance professionals on practices that keep surfaces safe without excessive salt use. 
  2. Practice Salt Wise winter maintenance. All applicators should follow practices that minimize salt use, such as always physically removing snow and ice with shovels, plows or brooms before applying any chemical. Recommended actions, and resources for carrying out those actions, are found at
  3. Have the right equipment. Using tools like brooms, ice scrapers, brine applicators, pavement thermometers, and salt alternatives can help applicators remove snow and ice while using the least amount of salt. To help you have the right equipment on hand, the District has road salt grants that can partially fund projects that reduce road salt use.