Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office


October 12, 2017
Sharon Corrigan, County Board Chair 608.333.2285
County Board

New guidelines aim at lower chloride levels in lakes, water wells


Looking to reduce the amount of salt in area waterways and drinking water systems, the Dane County Board is considering new guidelines for application of chloride deicers to parking lots, sidewalks and trails.


A resolution endorsing a voluntary salt reduction program is before the Board at its regular meeting tonight at 7 p.m. in Room 201 of the City-County Building.


Dane County is already an active participant in Wisconsin Salt Wise, a network of organizations promoting using just enough salt to keep roads and sidewalks safe and water softeners operating properly.


Now after working with a national expert, local units of government and a business advisory group, the county has developed application rate guidelines for use by contractors and maintenance professionals.  The county has also established a voluntary “Winter Maintenance Certification Program” open to those who apply chloride deicers within Dane County.


“The County Board is committed to improving our environment by reducing pollutants getting into our lakes, streams and groundwater,” said Chair Sharon Corrigan. “Limiting overuse of salt during the winter is another step toward our goal of improved water quality.”


Chloride levels have been on the rise in area watersheds, with Lake Wingra showing the most dramatic increase over the past 40 years. Computer modeling conducted for the Wingra Watershed plan said it would take a 60 percent reduction in salt use to bring lake chloride levels back to where they were in the 1970s.


The new guidelines don’t set specific numbers for salt reduction but urge wiser use of chloride deicers throughout the county, especially on private property.


“We’ve know there are some parking lots that currently receive 10 times the effective level of salt use,” said Supervisor Mary Kolar, who serves on the Lakes and Watershed Commission. “You could reduce that by 90 percent, thereby both saving money and being mindful of water quality concerns, with almost no change in the amount of ice.”


Others involved in the salt reduction effort included Epic Systems; Mad Plowing and Mowing; Olson Toon Landscaping; Barnes Inc.; Steve Brown Apartments; UW Health; Strand Associates; city of Sun Prairie; village of DeForest; UW-Madison; Madison Water Utility; Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District; Wisconsin Department of Transportation; Dane County Facilities Management and Dane County Land and Water Resources.


Also tonight, the County Board will consider approval of bonding for two low-income housing projects under the Housing Authority of Dane County.


One project is the rehabilitation of 20 rental units at the Iron House Apartments in the village of Mazomanie. The other is rehabilitation of 24 units at the Maple Tree Apartments in the city of Stoughton.


The Housing Authority of Dane County is working with HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program to provide safe and sanitary dwelling accommodations to persons of low to moderate income in the county. 


The Dane County Board meets bi-weekly at the City-County Building at 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in downtown Madison. The full meeting agenda is available at