person walking on winter sidewalk

The University of Vermont is a 460 acre campus with 282 buildings totaling 6 million square feet, 35 acres of pavement, 9 miles of roads and 4 miles of sidewalks. Vermont has an average annual snowfall of 82”.

About the Salt Mitigation Task Force

The catalyst that brought this group together was the realization of the costs accumulating for ongoing infrastructure repairs and potential impacts to the environment. These impacts are clearly related to the application of salt for snow and ice removal used to keep the campus community safe.

We brought together a group of staff, faculty, researchers and students from physical plant maintenance and grounds, custodial, the School of Natural Resources and the College of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences to investigate how changes could be made through interdisciplinary and data driven decision-making. Our meetings began in the midst of the COVID pandemic via MS Teams and have continued bi-weekly since. Due to the nature of the problem, the timing of snowfall and baseline data measurements, the project has developed quickly in the first year. We look forward to realizing the impact of our interventions as the team continues to improve procedures and equipment.

Vision

To be an institutional and community leader in reducing the effects of salt usage on the environment and on physical/building infrastructure.

Mission

Institute a multi-disciplinary team to investigate, recommend and implement processes and procedures that reduce salt usage across campus while still maintaining a safe campus community.

Task Force Goals

  1. Spend less money on infrastructure repairs.
  2. Reduce salt usage (both fiscally and physically as compared with normalized to weather conditions) without compromising safety.
  3. Establish a baseline monitoring program to assess the impacts of salt reduction efforts on water quality in watershed areas and storm water treatment ponds.
  4. Use a collaborative process and share success and failures internally and externally (beyond UVM).
  5. Develop training videos to guide custodial staff on proper salt application/spreading technique.
  6. Improve process for securing funding for equipment upgrades Funding- how do we plan for upgrades to equipment that will save money.
  7. Educate the campus community on our salt reduction efforts and affect a cultural shift in how individuals prepare for and interact with the exterior elements and environment during the winter. Culture-Change the mindset across campus – IT IS GOING TO SNOW! BE CAREFUL!
  8. Sharing the message- Sustainable practices, leverage Sustainable Campus Fund.
  9. Engage with and involve other entities including City of Burlington and State of Vermont.
  10. Enjoy winter!

Salt Mitigation Measures at UVM

Learn more in this 35-minute video we presented ar the 2021 Adirondack Champlain Regional Salt Summit.

Task Force Members

NameRole/AffilitationEmail
Lynn WoodDavis and Trinity Zone Manager, Physical Plant Departmentlynn.wood@uvm.edu
Kris StepenuckAssociate Professor, Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resourceskstepenu@uvm.edu
Kevin SweeneyDeferred Maintenance Project Manager, Physical Plant Departmentkevin.sweeney@uvm.edu
Paul CampoQuality Assurance Coordinator, Custodial Servicespaul.campo@uvm.edu
Matt WalkerGrounds Manager, Physical Plant Departmentmatthew.walker@uvm.edu
Adam Holmes(Former) Grounds Supervisor, Physical Plant Departmentadam.holmes@uvm.edu
Courtney GilesLecturer, Department of Civil & Environmental EngineeringCourtney.Giles@uvm.edu
Robby TshiemberStormwater Monitoring Research Intern-Senior Environmental Engineering (B.S.)robert.tschiember@uvm.edu
Liza McLatchyStormwater Monitoring Research Intern- Junior Environmental Engineering (B.S.)liza.mclatchy@uvm.edu
John LensSenior Lecturer, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineeringjohn.lens@uvm.edu
Jarod FountainMechanical Engineering Intern-Senior Mechanical Engineering (B.S.)jarod.fountain@uvm.edu
Eric BerlinerAssistant  Director of Maintenance & Operations, Physical Plant Departmenteric.berliner@uvm.edu