Too often we forget that a tremendous amount of deicing salt is applied to our highways, streets, driveways, and sidewalks to make these surfaces safer for vehicles and pedestrians during the winter months by lowering the freezing point of water. Sodium chloride (NaCl) is the primary deicing salt used for this purpose and, although the amount of road salt applied varies from year to year based on weather conditions, it is estimated that between 15 and 22 million tons are applied each year in the 26 states impacted by snow and ice including Minnesota where about 350,000 tons are used in the seven county, Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area alone each year based on 2007 reporting (government entities – 265,400 tons/season; commercial snow and ice management firms – 66,349 tons/season; homeowners and commercial property managers/packaged NaCl – 17,460 tons per season). It is interesting to note that the use of road salt was relatively uncommon until just after World War II and its use has subsequently increased steadily and substantially over the past seventy years. Read full article.