The best salt management practices assure that any negative impacts of using road salt are minimized, while at the same time ensuring the safety and mobility standards required of effective winter maintenance. This includes minimizing the environmental stress road salt can cause.
Modern roadways themselves are not a natural feature of the environment and are specifically engineered to satisfy our demand for personal and commercial mobility – factors that are basic to the quality of life. Because of this, acceptable standards of environmental limits that meet our needs must be established. Beyond design features such as altered drainage and surface waterways, environmental stressors include vehicle noise, risk of injury and death through collision, an abnormally dry roadway setting and, of course, elevated chloride levels where road salts are used to preserve winter driving safety and mobility.
More than thirty years ago, the Salt Institute established its Sensible Salting program, which consisted of identifying those salt management practices intended to protect the environment and train winter maintenance professionals. The key concept was to use the minimum amount of salt at the right time and place to keep roadways safe and passable.
Read the full research PDF here.