Protecting Guelph’s water: road salt

Use less road salt and de-icer to protect Guelph’s water

The salt used to clear ice on roads, parking lots and sidewalks can wash into our waterways affecting our environment and our drinking water sources. Increased concentrations of salt in our drinking water sources can be particularly harmful for people with high blood pressure, cardiovascular, kidney, or liver disease.

Use less road salt on your property

  • Use less salt. Salt (sodium and chloride) works best between 0 and -10 degrees Celsius. Use one tablespoon of salt for a one-metre square area. There should be no salt left after the pavement dries.
  • Use other products. Sand or non-clumping kitty litter can help add traction, and they work well when it’s too cold for salt.
  • Clear snow quickly so it doesn’t get packed down and turn to ice.
  • Remove as much snow and ice as you can with a shovel or scraper, then only use salt, sand or non-clumping kitty litter on icy patches.
  • Keep storm drains clear to help melting snow drain away from your property.
  • Repair leaky downspouts and eaves troughs, and direct downspouts away from walkways and driveways. Store snow where it won’t melt on to paved areas.
  • Clean up excess salt and store it somewhere dry, don’t leave it on the ground. Store left over salt to use next winter.

Businesses and property managers

  • Hire a Smart About Salt™ certified contractor.
  • Make sure winter maintenance operators, contractors, and site supervisors are trained in salt management best practices.
  • In general, use less salt when temperatures are rising and more salt when they are falling.
  • Try de-icing liquid. Applying salt brine before a storm to prevent snow and ice from bonding to the pavement requires less product than traditional salt use.
  • Store road salt and de-icing liquids on an impermeable pad under a cover or roof, or in sealed containers, to prevent exposure to weather conditions.

How the City of Guelph manages road salt


For more information

519-822-1260 extension 3320
[email protected]