Stormwater: Dealing with Ice and Snow

Here are some environmentally friendly tips for dealing with winter ice and snow.

When it's winter and you're winterizing your vehicles, make sure to check for and fix fluid leaks. Even a small amount of oil that drips on the pavement can pollute thousands of gallons of water. Also make sure to properly dispose of antifreeze, and never dump it on the ground or down a storm drain.

· Wintertime is also a time to fertilize your lawns. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's directions and only spread fertilizer where you need it. Sweep excess away from sidewalks and pavements.

· Shovel before applying salt. - De-icers work best when only a thin layer of snow or ice must be melted. Shovel as much as you can before applications.

· Reduce the use of de-icing products. - The recommended application rate for rock salt is about a handful per square yard. Using more of the product does not work better; rather it only means more pollution for our local waters.

· Sodium Chloride, rock salt, is the cheapest and most common de-icing product but Calcium Chloride has more benefits. Calcium Chloride doesn't have the chemical additives that rock salt has; it is less harmful to vegetation, and only one-third as much is needed. It also works well at low temperatures (25°F).


The Town of New Castle has a series of stormwater tips with advice for prevention of stormwater runoff and for protecting our environment. According the State Environmental Protection Agency, stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent stormwater runoff from naturally soaking into the ground. Stormwater can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the water bodies we use for swimming, fishing and providing drinking water.