We all know that winter is winding down, but one thing that will not be winding down is the City of Madison’s commitment to reduce the use of road salt in the city.
Thanks to city staff, we are spearheading a new program that encourages municipal employees, as well as private salt application businesses and homeowners, to reduce salt use and help the environment.
It is called the Voluntary Road Salt Applicator Certification Program and it is the first of its kind in Wisconsin. Businesses and workers are trained on new methods of salt dispersal and reduction to earn the certification. We recently held our first class and had participants from both the public and private sector.
One of the techniques presented in the class included using brines instead of straight salt before a storm. The mix of salt and water allows salt to be spread over a wider distance in a more efficient way. Additionally the use of brine significantly cuts down on salt use and saves a company, municipality or homeowner money.
The hope is to help clean up Dane County rivers and lakes and keep roads, parking lots and sidewalks safe, while also saving money by not using unnecessary amounts of salt. We have a few city wells that have measurably higher levels of chloride and we know there will be more to come if we do not take action now and continue to change attitudes and practices. Area lakes and streams are certainly affected as well.
The city’s goal is to implement the certification program for private contractors so municipalities, businesses and homeowners are able to make informed decisions. Together we can work to make a difference.
Stay tuned for more information in the months to come.