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This webpage is intended for local government unit (LGU) staff.
If you're interested in learning more, contact your local city or watershed district.

Low Salt No Salt Minnesota


The Hennepin County Chloride Initiative (HCCI) welcomes you to Low Salt, No Salt Minnesota, an innovative new program that builds community capacity to maintain winter safety while reducing chloride-based deicer use and its associated damages through relationships with local properties managed by resident boards.

Chlorides from winter maintenance operations are a local problem. University of Minnesota research shows that 3/4 of deicers stay where they are applied, permanently impairing waters for aquatic life and human consumption. They also adversely change soil structure and prematurely age infrastructure. 

Low Salt, No Salt Minnesota is a research-based program created and tested by professionals from cities and watershed organizations in Hennepin County for implementation by Local Government Units (LGUs) in their communities to build on relationships and ongoing opportunities to provide continued program support. This site is a one-stop mega-resource where you will find customizable resources for your situation.

We'd love to know who has visited the site, if you're using the materials, and if you have any feedback. Please fill out this form.


- The Hennepin County Chloride Initiative, January 2023

Icon_white_location.pngSee a map of where the program has been implemented.

Have you implemented the program in your community? Please fill out this form.

Overuse of de-icers for winter maintenance is a growing problem in Minnesota lakes, ponds, wetlands, streams, and groundwater.


The leading source of chloride pollution is from deicing chemicals (salts) used for winter maintenance. Chloride damages property and the environment, harms aquatic species, and impacts drinking water quality.  About 50 waterbodies in Minnesota already have dangerous chloride levels, and another 75 waterbodies are close to the danger zone. Learn more about chloride pollution from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).


Once chloride is in a waterbody, there is no feasible way to remove it. It takes only one teaspoon of salt to permanently pollute five gallons of water. Further, the alternatives to chloride have other tradeoffs in cost, environmental impacts, and service. Therefore, the leading strategy for managing chloride pollution is to be smart about its use; applying it only when, where, and in the amount needed. This also means that every effort, big or small, helps reduce chloride pollution!

The Low Salt, No Salt Minnesota toolbox is intended for Local Government Units (LGUs) such as cities and watershed management organizations to deliver the program locally, increasing awareness and providing support for private landowners to help them reduce chloride pollution from their properties.

How do we get people to reduce their use of de-icing salts?

Many people believe protecting water resources is important and that education fosters positive attitudes about reducing salt use. But education about chloride pollution, by itself, may not be enough to get people to change their winter salting routines.

The ability to maintain safety while realizing
financial savings and improving sustainability
are key messages conveyed through this program.


People may be unsure of how best to reduce chloride use on their properties or how to address concerns about safety or liability. You can step into this void by offering a friendly face and simple, site-specific advice. Being the local expert on chloride pollution through the lens of water resources management doesn't mean you have to have all the answers. Cultivating a positive relationship, providing support and encouragement, humbly observing their challenges with winter maintenance, and pointing people to the right resources are the cornerstones of this program. You can play a critical role in guiding local community members to help them clear a path to savings, safety and sustainability.

Our research shows that the biggest driver of over-salting is client demand due to fear of slip and fall lawsuits. 
Often, the person applying the salt knows more isn’t better, but they are reacting to their customer’s demand.

Creation of the toolbox

Water resource professionals led the development of and provided expertise for the Low Salt, No Salt Minnesota initiative. The team worked closely with a Minnesota marketing firm to perform interviews, develop a brand, and design materials. The primary goal of the effort was to provide a toolbox that local units of government (LGUs) may use during conversations with local residents, businesses, and property managers about best practices related to winter maintenance.


How to use the toolbox

You may pull what you need from the toolbox to supplement your existing efforts or start from scratch. Tools such as the PowerPoint presentation are editable, which means they can be customized with your organization's logo and contact information.


The Low Salt, No Salt Approach

Direct contact and site-specific advice is an effective way to change behavior related to winter salt use.


Where to begin?

We recommend that you begin by reviewing the "Facilitator Guide." It provides on overview of the Low Salt, No Salt Minnesota program including its purpose, components, and suggestions for implementation.

Low Salt, No Salt Minnesota is a toolbox intended for local government unit (LGU) staff to use in their communities to reduce chloride use. All materials for program facilitation are hosted on this webpage. The facilitator guide provides an overview of the program and suggestions for use.

Download the Facilitator Guide


What you'll find inside:

  • Program overview
  • Components
  • Getting started
  • Key messages



Questions, comments, or interested in a facilitator training opportunity? Reach out to one of these contacts:


Laura Jester, Administrator
Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission


Liz Forbes, Communications Manager
Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District


We hope to offer a pre-recorded facilitator training in the future!

PowerPoint Presentation


Download the Presentation (40 MB)


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Icons_green_Ideas.png  Suggested uses

Customize the presentation for your organization and your audience:

  • Add your logo

  • Include your contact information

  • Add your own slides

  • Remove non-relevant slides



Full video (4 min 45 sec)

Social media version of video (40 seconds)

Liability and winter maintenance planning (2 min 34 sec)

Icons_green_Ideas.png   Suggested uses

  • Share video link with stakeholder through email

  • Show video during a virtual or in-person presentation

  • Share through social media

  • Embed on your website (open video link, click "Share", select "Embed" to view and copy code for inserting onto website


Questions to Begin a Conversation about Reducing Chloride Use


Ice-breaker questions

  • Introductions. What is your name, how long have you lived/worked/worshipped here?
  • Are you on a board or committee for this place?
  • Who has been involved in winter maintenance?
  • What do you love about the place where you live/work/worship?


Site assessment questions

  • What are your known problem areas? How are you managing them currently? How would you like them to be managed?
  • Do you have a written plan with protocols for winter maintenance? If so, are you following the plan?
  • Do you hire a service provider or is the service provided by ‘in-house’ maintenance or management staff? If it’s hired out, do you know who your service provider is? Are they Smart Salting certified?
  • Tell us about your common areas. Do you have a salt bucket/shovel/ice pick in a common area entrance?
  • Is salt stored at your property? Where?
  • Do you regularly communicate with your customers/residents/parishioners about winter maintenance operations and snow/ice hazards?
  • Do you have a history of slip and fall accidents?
  • Where do you get the most complaints for too little or too much salt?
  • Do you have any drainage-related problem areas?
  • Do you have any snow storage related problem areas?
  • Are there any areas that are seasonally closed or could be seasonally closed? (Keep in mind emergency exits)
  • What do you think is low hanging fruit for smarter salt use?
  • Is there anything you’d like us to see?


General discussion questions

  • What’s your reaction to the video? To the presentation?
  • What was surprising?
  • What did you already know?
  • How does this relate to your property?
  • What is working well regarding winter maintenance?
  • What is not working well regarding winter maintenance?
  • Can you think of an example in your community where winter maintenance is done well? Where it could be improved?


Download the Questions (pdf)


Icons_green_Ideas.png  Suggested uses

  • Use these questions during your presentation or other conversation with someone about reducing use of winter de-icers.


Pledge Form

Download the Take the Pledge form

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Don't forget to ask people to fill out, sign and return the pledge form!



Giveaways can help boost your audience's committment to reducing salt use. A limited number of long-handled, commercial-grade ice scrapers are available from the Low Salt, No Salt program for LGUs in Hennepin County to use as a giveaway in your outreach efforts. For more information, email


 ​​Icons_green_Ideas.png​  ​​​​Suggested uses

  • Offer the pledge form at community events where you are tabling

  • After a presentation related to water quality, ask audience members to sign the pledge

  • Email the pledge directly property managers, homeowner associations, and others


Recruitement letter template



Icons_green_Ideas.png  Suggested uses

  • Mail directly to property or business owner

Brand style guide


The brand style guide provides typography (fonts), color names, and how to property use the logo. Note about fonts: You should be able to download Brandon Grotesque and Gotham Condensed for free online. You may need your IT department to assist you with adding fonts to your computer. 

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There are five color variations of the logo. All are PNG format with transparent background.


LSNS logo_color.png   LSNSMN_Black_Gray.png   LSNSMN_Black.pngLSNS logo_white gray_background.png  LSNS logo_white_background.png

Note: White/gray and white logos will not have background color when you download.



Icons_green_Ideas.png  Suggested uses

  • Consider using the branding style guide when making your own handouts about chloride pollution.

  • Add the Low Salt, No Salt Minnesota logos to your website

  • Use the logos when sharing chloride pollution information on social media.


Frequently Asked Questions

Your community may have questions about chloride pollution. The Frequently Asked Questions Handout answers some of the most common ones.

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Icons_green_Ideas.png   Suggested uses

  • Review handout to be prepared for questions.

  • Provide handout to community members.


You can print these cards yourself or send the PDF file to a printing company. The second side has space to add your own contact information or logo. 


1. Download the double two-per-page, two-side card suitable for printing on 8.5"x11" paper or cardstock.


2. Download the single two-sided card. Sized to print at 5.5"x8.5".


3. Download the single two-sided card with 0.125" bleed. Sized to print at 5.5" x 8.5".

      Note: Having a bleed allows extra 0.125" for trimming (color bleeds beyond margin for more finished look) by a professional printing company.


Download EPS versions of the above files on the Low Salt No Salt MN Google Drive. Each image is a separate EPS file labeled "side 1" or "side 2" with descriptor (double, single, bleed).


Front side and back side of card shown beow. Back side has space to add your own info or logo.

Card side 1.png Card side 2.png


Icons_green_Ideas.png   Suggested uses

  • Print to have on hand when you're out in the community.

  • Handout at events or meetings.

  • Use pieces of graphic on social media.

Model Winter Maintenance Contract

The City of Edina developed a model contract for snow and ice management that embraces best practices to minimize environmental impacts from salt and other chemicals. Property owners can adapt the model contract to suit their needs and to ensure their contractors are protecting Minnesota waters from chloride pollution.

Winter Site Maintenance Templates

Share these with people in your community looking for information about developing a winter maintenance plan. Three templates are scaled to meet user needs:

Download the calculator below to help determine which template would be best.

Calculator for Choosing a Winter Maintenance Template

Download the calculator (Excel file) that will help users select a winter site maintenance template.


Other Resources

Why reinvent the wheel? There are a lot of great websites out there with resources ready to use in your chloride reduction efforts. Check out these sites.

Salt Mini-course

Developed by the City of Minneapolis, this online educational tool lets the user learn how salt impacts the environment and the best practices for snow and ice removal.

Salt mini-course

Snow Removal: Do it better, cheaper and pollution-free!

Plain language resource from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) with tips on minimizing salt use including a training video.

Snow Removal: Do it better!

Smart Salting Training

Learn about how to become a certified Smart Salter and find out when the next training is happening.

Smart Salting Training homepage

Water Pollutant: Chloride

Information about chloride pollution from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Chloride webpage

Clean Water Minnesota

A project of the Metro Watershed Partners, this website offers information about protecting water quality, Adopt-a-Drain, and tips about reducing winter salt use.

Smart Salting Manual

Useful guide about smart salting for property managers.

Smart Salting Manual (pdf)

Winter Salt Watch

Take the Salt Watch Pledge from the Izaak Walton League, and they'll send you a FREE kit with everything you need to find out whether road salt pollution is a problem in your local stream.

Winter Salt Watch

Smart About Salt

Information about Canada's Smart About Salt Winter Salt Management Program.

Salt Wise

Wisconsin Salt Wise is a coalition of organizations to reduce salt pollution. Learn about why salt's a problem, how to take action, and more.

Campus Snow Removal Program

Learn about Montana State University's comprehensive snow removal plan focused on response, recovery and maintenance.

Montana State snow removal

Do you have a great online resource to share? Please email Liz Forbes.

Low Salt, No Salt Minnesota is an initiative developed in 2022 by the Hennepin County Chloride Initiative (HCCI), a collaboration between multiple watershed districts, watershed organizations, and cities in Hennepin County with support from the county and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. 

Selecting an Audience

On large developed properties, winter maintenance is typically performed by contractors. When developing an approach for Low Salt, No Salt Minnesota, we wanted to understand if contractors would be a good audience for focusing outreach efforts. Read the full report.

What we found when we interviewed private salt applicators was that they were generally knowledgeable about chloride as a water contaminant. However, their salting practices were primarily driven by client demand and liability concerns. These clients are usually owners and managers of large properties.

Developing the Messages

By focusing outreach efforts on owners and managers of large properties, we hope to drive demand for contractors that practice smart salting. In developing materials for Low Salt, No Salt Minnesota, we focused on homeowner associations, property managers, and communities of faith. These groups are accessible and tend to make decisions about winter maintenance for large areas including hiring of contractors.

To better understand attitudes and other factors of these groups that affect their willingness to adopt best salting practices, a series of interviews was conducted with these groups. The research revealed group concerns related to chloride use and which messages about reducing chloride use best resonated with them. Review the full market research report.

Creation of the Toolbox

Working collaboratively through the Hennepin County Chloride Initiative (HCCI), water resource professionals led the development of and provided expertise for the Low Salt, No Salt Minnesota program. The team worked closely with a Minnesota marketing firm to perform interviews, develop a brand, and design materials. The primary goal of the effort was to provide a toolbox that local units of government (LGUs) may use during conversations with local residents and businesses about best practices related to winter maintenance. While these materials are useful for a variety of audiences, the targeted audiences for this program include faith-based communities, property managers, and homeowners/townhome associations.

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Development of this program was funded through a Clean Water Fund grant from the MN Board of Water and Soil Resources.

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Main Message

"When performing winter maintenance, you can maintain safety while realizing financial savings and improving sustainability."

Let us know you were here!

We'd love to know who's visited this site, if you plan to use the materials, or if you have any feedback. Please consider filling out this form.