With snow and ice officially here, it's a good time of year to focus on salt. We've all seen excessive road salt piled up on parking lots and sidewalks, and it all ends up in local fresh water. The Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District pollution prevention team is working hard to r educe sources of chloride to the sewer system , including not only road salt but water softener salt as well. Rather than build costly treatment to remove the required amount of chloride at the treatment plant, the district is working with community partners to proactively prevent chloride from reaching the sewer system.

As a trusted source of information, and a direct interface with residents of your community, you are an important partner in chloride reduction work. Amplifying outreach to your community about being " Salt Wise"; reducing road salt use, or increasing the efficiency performance of water softeners are just some ways to protect public health and the environment while keeping sewer bills low. To help get you started with some salt reduction ideas, or to bolster the good work you're already doing, we have provided resources below.

We would be happy to answer your questions about these resources, and we'd like to hear your thoughts on how we can supplement or improve these tools. You can contact us at 608-222-1201 or email

Best regards,

Emily Jones & Catherine Harris
Pollution Prevention Specialists, Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District
Chloride Source Reduction Resources
To start, you can get familiar with the issues associated with chloride by reading this municipal leaders fact sheet. (When we talk about chloride, we're typically talking about ordinary salt -- sodium chloride -- since it's the main source of chloride to water bodies.)
Salt Wise Press Packet
The WI Salt Wise Partnership sums up ways for homeowners and salt applicators to be "green" when snow flies with the mantra, "Shovel, Scatter, Switch" for de-icing salt application. Salt Wise has a short press-kit/fact-sheet thatcan be shared with press on inquiries related to salt reduction.

For additional salt updates, you can also share and follow WI Salt Wise on Facebook and Twitter!
Commercial & Industrial Rebates
Encourage businesses and large residences in your community to apply to the district's large-scale Salt Reduction Rebate program through direct communications with these entities from your water utility or public works department.

  • Paste text from this SAMPLE LETTER onto your municipal letterhead to notify large water users (usually multi-family, commercial and industrial accounts) in your community about this rebate opportunity.
  • This funding is intended for large salt users, businesses, apartments, or other buildings that can reduce over 100 pounds of salt per month through softener upgrades, process changes, or building efficiency improvements.
Spread the Message
Salt is cheap and it seemingly disappears into the environment when dissolved in water. Because it can so easily be out of sight, out of mind, many people may not realize that salt is a pollutant when overabundant in the environment.

Help educate your residents about salt as a pollutant, and let them know that they play a part in helping to keep sewer bills low, by sharing information through any or all of the following resources:

Reminder ! Annual Chloride Source Reduction Reporting Upcoming :
To meet a district Sewer Use Ordinance requirement, communities must annually report to the district on actions they have taken to reduce sources of chloride to the treatment plant. Communities are also required to sample their municipal wells annually for chloride. Communities should sample each well they own, analyze the water for chloride content and report those results to MMSD by March 1, 2018.

An email reminder will be going out to each municipal point person regarding these reporting requirements, early in 2018.
Well testing tip: Many customers have used the WI State Lab of Hygiene and/or other DNR certified commercial labs in the past to complete this testing requirement.

Reporting tip: think of all community actions related to chloride , like outreach & education, infrastructure improvements, winter maintenance practices, facilities improvements, etc.