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Road Salt Feature: City of Plymouth

January 16, 2018

Snow truck salting from Riley Purgatory Watershed DistrictThe danger of ice and snow on roads and sidewalks is a fact of life in Minnesota, and salt and sand can help reduce ice and add traction. When that snow inevitably melts, however, most of that salt and sand flows directly into nearby waters. This has resulted in 39 surface waters exceeding the water quality standard for chlorides in the Twin Cities metro area alone and an additional 38 surface waters that are almost above the standard. While homeowners and business owners can do their part, cities also play a role in decreasing the effect of chlorides in our waters. Within the Minnehaha Creek watershed, the City of Plymouth is making notable strides to implement best management practices for chloride reduction.

Within the City of Plymouth, Elm Creek, Bass Creek, Plymouth Creek, Bassett Creek, and Parker's Lake are impaired for chloride, so the City of Plymouth has been working since 2010 to address these issues by changing their salt use practices. Their efforts have resulted in a salt use reduction of over 56%! Some of the practices the City of Plymouth have implemented include:

  • Pre-wetting salt so it sticks to the road better, leading to 30% less salt loss
  • Calibrating truck spreaders and anti-icing units twice a year
  • Anti-icing all roads with speeds greater than 35 mph, which has resulted in a 50% salt reduction per lane mile since 2000
  • Utilizing temperature sensors on all plow trucks
  • Promptly sweeping up spills
  • Storing road salt in a covered building
  • Sending equipment operators to attend chloride trainings
  • Tracking salt application rates with a GPS system
  • Using a variety of products, including brine, rock salt, and calcium chloride

Learn more about how your city manages road salt by contacting your city's Public Works departments. Interested in learning more about road salt? Register for the Road Salt Symposium on February 8 in Plymouth!