Snow and Ice Clearing Tips for Homeowners

Salt is a major water quality concern. The salt spread on the ground does not go away. Eventually this salt mixes with groundwater; the water we drink. There are steps you can take to help.

Before reaching for the salt

  • Shovel or plow the snow as soon as you can before it packs down and turns to ice
  • If ice forms, break up with a steel chopper and clear away with a shovel
  • Add traction with sand, grit or non-clumping kitty litter

If salt is absolutely necessary

  • A sand and salt mix offers traction and ice melting with less salt.
  • A little goes far. In many cases, a few tablespoons of salt for a one-metre square area is all you need.
  • Spread salt evenly on icy areas only. Do not use salt to melt snow.
  • Wait to reapply. Even when you cannot see it, salt is hard at work.
  • Salt does not expire. Clean up spilled and excess salt for another time.

Did you know?

  • Salt does not work when colder than -10C
  • Environmentally friendly ice melters contain salt and are not water friendly
  • Once salt is in the water, there is no easy fix to remove it

What to use instead of salt

Sand, grit and non-clumping kitty litter are some of the products you can use to create traction and when it is too cold for salt to work (about -10C and colder). City of Kitchener residents can access sand using the City of Kitchener sandbox locator map.

If you want to melt the ice, the product you use most likely contains salt. This includes most products labelled pet, plant and environmentally friendly. If salt is required, follow these snow and ice clearing tips.

Educational resources

Literature

Blog: I Am Groundwater

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