Author: Deborah Kenley, Senior Coordinator, Greening Corporate Grounds, Credit Valley Conservation
You face a number of unexpected challenges when you manage a business. But one thing is certain: come winter you’ll have to manage snow and ice on your property. Having a winter maintenance plan in place can save you time and reduce conventional maintenance costs while protecting your property and keeping people safe.
Strategic winter maintenance planning also protects the environment by reducing the number of de-icing products you need to use. All de-icing products are pollutants. The most harmful is chloride-based de-icing salt (also referred to as road salt). It not only damages our cars, clothing, and infrastructure, but also plants, trees, and freshwater systems, harming wildlife and threatening our drinking water supply.
Making your winter maintenance plan environmentally friendly doesn’t have to be costly or complicated. Simply understanding when and what product to apply can help you more effectively and sustainably manage snow and ice this winter. Here are a few quick wins to help you get started.
- Ensure downspouts drain away from parking lots and walkways to prevent ice from forming in high traffic areas during freeze and thaw conditions.
- Close unnecessary walkways and parking areas during winter months to reduce the number of sites you need to clear. Post signage indicating the areas are closed and not maintained during winter.
- Learn how to use less de-icing salt or salt alternatives and apply anti-icing brine before it snows to prevent ice build-up.
- Clear snow and ice as soon as possible to prevent it from building up.
- Don’t pile snow near walkways or parking lots where it can cause a slipping hazard if it melts and refreezes.
Be salt smart
- Properly store winter maintenance products away from storm sewers, trees, and shrubs.
- Apply de-icing salt when it’s -10 C or warmer and only after snow has been cleared.
- Hire a contractor certified by the Smart About Salt Council to ensure best management practices are followed.
Want to learn about other ways you can increase environmental sustainability on your property? Request a free Sustainable Landscaping Assessment and Action Plan from Credit Valley Conservation’s Greening Corporate Grounds program. Visit cvc.ca/gcg to learn more or contact Deborah Kenley at 905-670-1615 ext 439.