Smart Salting training helps improve operator effectiveness and reduce chloride pollution while keeping roads, parking lots, and sidewalks safe. Participating organizations have been able to reduce their salt use by 30 to 70%. And the training has been shown to prevent chloride contamination in bodies of water.
Level 1 individual training
In Level 1 training, individual road salt applicators learn best practices to reduce their salt use while maintaining safety. Participants earn a five-year certification that they can renew by passing another class.
- Roads class – High/low speed snowplow operation
- Parking lot/sidewalk class – Maintaining private/public walkways and/or parking lots and service roads
Who should attend? State, city, and county road maintenance staff, private winter maintenance contractors, property management staff, snowplow drivers.
Level 2 organizational training
Organizations can earn Level 2 certification by assessing their salt use using the Smart Salting assessment tool and taking steps to minimize it. Participants can be certified by using the tool directly or working through it in a level 2 training. Participants earn a two-year certification that they can renew by submitting the required reports.
To get certified using the tool directly:
Using the assessment tool, complete the best management practices and salt savings assessments for the most recently completed winter maintenance season (e.g., a January 1, 2022, report would be based on the 2020/2021 season). Submit one assessment for your whole organization or multiple, as long as each has a unique address (e.g., separate facilities or branch offices).
On your user home page, click "Select Reports" at the bottom right.
- Select the appropriate completed reports for your organization. (Reports should include all of the surface type(s) in which you are involved, not a separate report for each surface type.):
- BMP Reports: Response Summary (current)
- BMP Reports: Comparison of Responses Between Assessment Periods (current and future)
- Salt Savings Reports: Summary Report (current and future)
- Click "Submit."
If the submitted reports are complete, the tool will generate a certificate for your organization.
Property management training
Learn how to use less salt while maintaining safe parking lots and sidewalks, to save money and protect water resources. Participants earn a three-year certification that they can renew by passing another class.
Who should attend? Property managers, local government decision makers
Certified individuals and organizations
Training success stories
Winter maintenance staff who have attended the Smart Salting training — both from cities/counties and private companies — have used their knowledge to reduce salt use and save their money for their organizations.
- Learn more about Minnesota entities that have reduced salt use (Minnesota Stormwater Manual)
- Wisconsin Salt Wise also has some compelling case studies of winter maintenance organizations that have reduced their salt use
In Dakota County, the MPCA and its partners tracked effectiveness of Smart Salting training through two winters. Fourteen months after the county's snow plow drivers took the course, the evaluation showed measureable improvements. In the first season after the training, the county used 14,175 tons of salt for 35 snow events (average: 405 tons per event). In the next season, the county used 9,585 tons of salt for 27 events (average: 355 tons per event). This 12% reduction correlates to about 40 million gallons of freshwater protected from chloride contamination per snow event.
- Minnesota salt-tolerant plants (MPCA Stormwater Manual)
- MnDOT Plant Selector Program
- The effects of deicing salts on landscapes (University of Minnesota Extension)
- Salt reduction best practices (New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services) — Offers best management practices guidance documents developed as part of a multi-year survey of the best and most applicable technology.
- Winter salt certification training resources (WI Salt Wise) — All the resources used in the Madison, Wis., winter salt training course, grouped by subject.
- Salt solutions program (MnDOT) — Find useful resources on MnDOT's program that include information on liquid de-icing.
- Minnesota Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) — Offers resources that include a Snow and ice control material application workshop and Minnesota Snow and Ice Control, a handbook for snowplow operators.
- Clear Roads newsletter — From national research consortium that focuses on testing winter maintenance materials, equipment, and methods.
- Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA) – A trade organization that offers a variety of resources and information targeted to private snow and ice management professionals.
The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, University of Minnesota, and Fortin Consulting produced two videos to introduce best practices for winter maintenance of sidewalks, entryways, and steps, and offers guidance on deicing materials and application rates.