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Road Salt Reduction

Certifying winter maintenance professionals in salt reduction practices that improve water quality while protecting public safety.

Dramatic and rising concentrations of chloride from salt applications have been identified in New Hampshire waters and mirror a trend that is being seen in colder regions of the United States and Canada due to the application of de-icing chemicals. In 2008, New Hampshire listed 19 chloride-impaired water bodies on the 303(d) list under the Clean Water Act.

In 2020, that number increased to 50. At concentrations exceeding 230 mg/l, chloride can be toxic to some aquatic species and can impart a salty taste in drinking water supplies. 

At this time, the only way to prevent chloride from reaching surface waters and groundwater is to reduce the amount applied to our roadways, parking lots and sidewalks without compromising safety. When road salt dissolves in water, the chloride molecule is not retained by the soil and easily moves with water flow.

Chloride is not significantly removed by chemical reactions, evaporation or vegetation. Therefore, nearly all of the chloride applied to the land surface as road salt will eventually end up in the nearby surface waters or groundwater.

To protect New Hampshire waters from increased chloride concentrations, the NHDES Green SnowPro Program offers snow and ice management professionals training and certification in state of the art salt reduction practices that prioritize public safety while mitigating salt usage.

In return for their efforts, commercial salt applicators certified by NHDES Green SnowPro under RSA 489-C, and property owners or managers who hire them, are granted liability protection against damages arising from snow and ice conditions under RSA 508:22.

Green SnowPro Certification

For information about getting certified or recertified in the Green SnowPro Program along with the different training courses offered, please visit the Green SnowPro Certification webpage.

Road Salt Reduction-Related Resources

Watershed-Management
Program Coordinator