Less salt on the earth

The county saves money and protects the environment by using less road salt

Using less salt saves money and protects the environment

Even though it has been a relatively tame winter, Hennepin County continues to keep roads clear. And we’re getting it done while also minimizing the environmental impact of road salt. In the past five years, the county has cut back its salt usage on county roads by about 60 percent.

The county is now using brine, a solution containing water and salt, which has greatly reduced the amount of salt applied to roads. High levels of salt can be harmful to wildlife, pets, water quality and infrastructure, in addition to being expensive.

"Before installing the brine tanks, we used about 600 to 800 pounds of salt per lane mile,” said Andrew Kraemer, operations manager. “While each winter is different, we are now using only 200 to 300 pounds."

Andrew said the county continues to experiment with ways to cut back on salt, while keeping the same level of service and safety.

“It has been a great effort, and we are continually working on this,” he said.