Snow removal season is right around the corner. Soon we will be scraping, shoveling and sloshing through snow on decks, driveways and sidewalks. In addition to being hard on backs, snow removal can be hard on our environment — both natural and manmade.

The best way to ensure safe walks and driveways is to shovel early and often. If you must use deicer, use it sparingly and know what’s in your product. Shoveling early and often is the best recipe.

Salt-based deicers contain chlorides (magnesium, sodium, potassium), which are harmful to pets, plants and sidewalks. Chlorides also increase the freeze-melt cycle that degrades concrete, especially newer concrete, which can cost $13 per square foot or more to replace. 

Chlorides are harmful to the paws (and tummies) of pets and wildlife. As the snows melt, these salts wend their way into our gardens, green spaces and the San Miguel River. Many deicers also contain other chemicals. Formates and acetates are somewhat better than chlorides, but are often blended with less desirable ingredients. Urea is also another ingredient in ice-melts that is less harmful to pets, but is an irritant and not beneficial for the environment. Even products titled “safe” often contain harmful ingredients. Know what’s in your product. There are some better, although expensive, products available, but a "less is more" philosophy and shoveling early and often are the best ways to go. Labels can be deceiving.

In order to protect and preserve both the landscapes and hardscapes of our community, please use best practices for snow removal.

  1. Shovel snow as soon as possible while snow is still easily removed by shovel or broom. Shovel early and often!
  2. If deicers must be applied, use as little as possible as seldom as possible. Use products that are chloride free or are safer for pets and the environment.
  3. Require that all contractors and property managers follow best practices and use minimal amounts of safer deicer products.

Please join us in increasing awareness and educational outreach on the best practices

for snow removal and limited use of deicers to protect your property and our community.

Telluride Ecology Commission