As snow piles up in the winter, we often turn to salt to melt snow and ice.  Excess salt can seep into groundwater and stormwater runoff.  Effective ice control can help prevent excess salt runoff to our waterways. 

There are many alternatives to salt, including potassium chloride, calcium chloride and magnesium acetate.  Most can be found in hardware stores under various trade names, so check the labels for chemical content.  While these alternatives can be spread in a dry form or sprayed as a liquid, their best use occurs when they are used with salt.  They tend to increase the efficiency of salt thereby reducing the amount that needs to be applied. 

Keep in mind that your first line of defense should simply be to shovel sidewalks and pathways to keep them clean and to prevent ice from forming.  Also consider that salt and de-icers are not effective when more than 3 inches of snow have accumulated.