Chloride (another name for salt) can cause poor water quality in lakes and rivers and be toxic to plants, fish and insects. Since chloride is easily spread and does not biodegrade, it has lasting effects on the environment.
Winter maintenance operations is one of several sources of salt in Minnesota's environment. Salt can also come from water softeners and private entities spreading salt on parking lots and sidewalks. Each source is a significant contributor to the adverse environmental impacts of salt/chloride.
The amount of salt MnDOT uses each winter depends on the temperature, precipitation, and other conditions. MnDOT has taken a leadership role in providing excellent winter service that minimizes environmental impacts.