Winter Maintenance - Snow & Ice Removal

The Lake County Deicing Workshops Online Registration is Now Open!

Businesses large and small, both private and public, have to balance safety with effective ice and snow removal practices in their winter maintenance programs. Road salt is the most commonly used tool to manage snow and ice removal, but there are best practices to follow and sensible methods and alternatives to use that can be more environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

Both salt and sand used for snow and ice management have negative impacts on the aquatic environment, local economics, public health, and our watersheds. There are ways for winter maintenance workers to reduce road salt (chloride) used on sidewalks, parking lots, and roadways. Every year Lake County departments partner together to offer a workshop to keep public and private sector professionals up-to-date with alternative winter maintenance practices and the importance of responsible road salt use.

Join us Sept. 30, Oct. 1, or Oct. 2 for the Annual Deicing Workshops
September 30: Parking Lots & Sidewalks
October 1 and 2: Roadways

Click here to register.

Annual Deicing Workshops Teach Sensible Salting Practices

Each year, snow and ice removal professionals from the public and private sector attend Lake County’s deicing workshops to stay up-to-date on alternative winter maintenance practices and learn the importance of responsible road salt use. 2018 marked the 10th Annual Deicing Workshop, with over 160 attendees from various municipalities and organizations. In the past ten years, 1,172 individuals have completed this training. 

Lake County is a leader in snow and ice control and received the 2018 Excellence in Snow and Ice Control Award from the American Public Works Association (APWA). The annual deicing workshops were one of the components noted in the recognition for providing an innovative, safe, and environmentally friendly snow and ice control program to the residents of Lake County.

Watch this video to learn more about Lake County’s deicing workshops.

Deicing Preferred Providers List
As part of the deicing workshops training, attendees are offered the opportunity to take a test to earn a spot on the “Preferred Provider” list. This list of preferred providers join the rising ranks of plow drivers and salt applicators that have completed the workshop training with the goals to keep our roads safe while reducing winter maintenance costs and pollution to our environment.

Deicing Truck

Salt Doesn't Mix

Businesses (large and small) both private and public have to balance safety and effective ice and snow removal and during typical winters. Salt is the most commonly used tool and often used over and over again within a season.

Both salt and sand used for snow and ice management have negative impacts on the aquatic environment and the entire watershed. There are ways for deicing contractors to reduce chloride use on sidewalks, parking lots and roads.

Improper salt storage

Reducing Salt Negative Effects:

  • Reduce the amount and frequency of salt and sand application.
  • Store salt and sand in a covered and lined bermed area away from storm drain inlets.
  • Create brine with the deicer before application will make it more effective at melting the snow.
Too much salt on pavement

Salt Alternatives 

  • Calcium Magnesium Acetate
  • Magnesium Chloride
  • Calcium Chloride 
  • Regardless of the deicing substance and method, it is important to sweep extra salt off the parking lot, driveway, or sidewalk after a storm and in the spring after snowmelt.

Some ways to mitigate the impacts of sanding include:

  • Performing appropriate spreading procedures. Primarily it is important for municipal employees and facility managers to understand that more is not necessarily better. 
  • Outfitting salt spreaders with technology that reduces the chances of overspreading and spreading outside the roadside yellow lines or desired parking lot management area.
  • Cover salt piles and store it away from the drainage system. This keeps the salt from running offsite and into the nearest waterway.
  • Use salt alternatives like beet juice. This mixture can reduce the amount of salt needed by up to 30%. It may be more feasible for these salt alternatives to be used in and around ecologically sensitive areas, such as along waterways or fragile tributaries.
  • Use "clean" sand that is free of fine materials so it doe not cause as much sediment in the waterways.
  • Assure the health of roadside vegetation by planting native salt-loving vegetation, which will flourish in the salty environment while still filtering pollutants out of stormwater.
  • Pile snow in upland areas in order to reduce the amount of deicer that flows into streams and lakes during the spring snowmelt.