Winter Parking Lot and Sidewalk Maintenance Manual 2010

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The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Fortin Consulting, Inc., and University of Minnesota, among numerous other contributors have compiled a huge amount of research outlining the most effective ways to maintain parking lots and sidewalks in the winter. Also, the manual shares numerous environmental impact reduction tips AND cost-saving tips. The most impactful parts of the study pertaining to reducing chloride emissions discuss (see study pages 6-9):

  • Policies
  • Storage
  • Weather Conditions
  • Drainage
  • Calibration of Equipment


Our waters are threatened by policies which are based on fees for material use. This encourages overuse of materials.


Salt storage areas are often a source of groundwater contamination. To reduce risk, have a covered storage area on an impervious pad. Take measures to keep salt or salt brine from leaving storage area.

Prevent groundwater contamination. Do not locate storage areas near wells. Limestone regions with fissures and sinkhole are very prone to groundwater contamination as are sandy soils.

Weather Conditions

Knowing the pavement temperature will allow you to apply the proper amount of material for each situation.


Storm drains lead to the nearest lake, river, pond or wetland. They do not go to a treatment plant.

Calibration of Equipment

Calibration will allow you to more accurately use your deicers.

Some fish species are affected by concentrations of less than 1000 ppm sodium chloride, about 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of salt in 5 gallons of water.

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By:Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Fortin Consulting, Inc., University of Minnesota, Minnetonka,Circuit Training and Assistance Program, MDOT, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization

Links to the cited studies for this article. Winter Parking Lot and Sidewalk Maintenance Manual June 2010 Revised