ST. PAUL (WJON News) -- Now that the snow and ice have finally arrived this season in Minnesota, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has its annual reminder to use salt sparingly.

They say we scattered an estimated 445,000 tons of chloride-containing salt on our paved surfaces in Minnesota each year. That chloride ends up in our lakes, rivers and streams and eventually makes its way into the groundwater.

It only takes one teaspoon of salt to permanently pollute five gallons of water.

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No environmentally safe alternatives to de-icing salt are available yet, but the MPCA says there are strategies you can do to minimize pollution including shoveling and scraping, not using salt when the temperature dips below 15 degrees because it won't work anyway, use less salt, and sweep up visible salt on dry surfaces.

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