For most people after they are finished shoveling or snow blowing their walk ways and drive ways they lay down salt to prevent ice from forming. Salting helps fight and prevent ice and eases the minds of worried home owners. In most towns the home owner is responsible for taking care of their sidewalks and we have all heard the stories of people slipping on sidewalks and suing. Salts are harmful to the environment, pets, and plants.
Even those that claim to be safe can be harmful if not used properly. Sodium chloride, calcium chloride, and calcium magnesium acetate are the most common salts in the market. Sodium chloride is by far the most hazards to the environment even though it is the most common, while calcium magnesium acetate has claimed to be the new eco friendly trend, but has not been proven in lab tests. Some of the cheaper salts on the market contain ingredients that are also in construction materials such as concrete and brick. Why the salts are hazards to the environment is that they can dissolve in water, such as melted ice, and flow in to near by water sources. There are not many safe alternatives to these salts, but there ways to reduce the effects of the salts.
Before the snow starts to fall lay salt on the walk ways to help reduce the amount of snow that sticks. If you don’t put salt down before the snow, then mixing sand with the salt will increase traction and reduce the amount of impact the salts. Salts that have urea, glycols, and fertilizers have a reduced effect of the environment, but are not as effective as the harmful ones. The harmful salts can be as low as five dollars per bag, this is why they are the most common salts bought on the market. If your local store only has harmful salts choose the right one that works for what you need.
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