Reducing Use of Deicing Salt for Winter Maintenance Professionals

Winter maintenance professionals, which include municipal staff and private contractors, follow similar guidelines for salting as do individuals and small businesses but on a larger scale. Lake Champlain Sea Grant provides tools and training to help winter maintenance professionals safely reduce road salt use by calibrating salt application from trucks and spreaders.

Salt Calibration

How-Tos for Municipal Trucks

When municipal salting equipment is new, an initial one-time calibration process is required. The process is described by Dan Guillmette with the City of South Burlington, Vermont, in this three-and-a-half-minute video. This video also includes instructions for doing an annual catch or drop test to calibrate the salt spreaders on the trucks.


Each year, salt trucks should be calibrated using a drop or catch test. This 2-minute video made in partnership with the communities of South Burlington and Milton, Vermont, explains how to do this. Thanks to employees with both communities and Vince Franke with Peregrine Productions for creating these videos for us!


How-Tos for Private Contractors

Private contractors should also calibrate their salting equipment at least annually. This process involves measuring salt dispersed at varied auger settings and measuring estimated spread width of salt at a preferred spinner setting as shown in this 1-minute and 42-second video. This information can then be used in conjunction with our online calculators to determine the auger setting to use to achieve recommended product application rates for the property being maintained.



Deicing Product Application Calculator

New Hampshire's Green SnowPro program is a limited liability program in which commercial businesses can participate to reduce use of salt and ensure surfaces are safe during winter storms. This program provides guidance on the amount of deicing products to use and actions to take to maintain parking lots and roads under varied winter conditions. We worked with a programmer to translate their guidance into an online deicing product application calculator. You might consider saving this as a bookmark on your smartphone (as if it were an app) for easy access. Here are directions to do this using an iPhone, and using an Android.

Deicing Product Application Calculator (NH Green SnowPro)

Auger Settings Calculator

While private contractors can determine the recommended deicing product application rate based on weather conditions and materials used with the deicing product application rate calculator, that calculator does not provide guidance on what auger setting to use or speed to drive using a preferred spinner setting to achieve the recommended application rate. To further aid contractors, Lake Champlain Sea Grant developed an online auger setting calculator. This calculator requires users to enter information obtained during calibration and from the deicing product calculator. It then suggests what speed to drive and what auger setting to use to achieve the recommended product application rate. The calculator enlarges the speed closest to 10 mph as that is easy to see on the speedometer and is commonly used in parking lots. However, the calculator also provides information about other auger settings that were input and associated driving speeds to allow the contractors to use their best professional judgment at each location to distribute the recommended amount of product.

To use the calculator, you will need: 1) measured salt output at each auger setting in lbs/minute (collected during calibration); 2) the spread width of salt at your preferred spinner setting (collected during calibration); 3) the recommended product application rate based on product being used and weather conditions.

Auger settings calculator



Lake Champlain Sea Grant has sponsored or co-hosted a number of workshops and conferences to educate professionals about low salt best practices that allow our roads, parking lots, and driveways to remain safe, while at the same time reducing use of salt to benefit the environment, protect infrastructure, and save money. We have hosted or co-hosted workshops for private and municipal employees since 2017. Access agendas and presentations from past workshops and conferences below.

Winter Maintenance Training for Parking Lots and Sidewalks - October 25, 2021

2021 Adirondack-Champlain Salt Summit co-hosted with Lake George Association - October 14, 2021

Road Salt Education Workshop, South Burlington, VT - October 24, 2019

Agenda & Presentations

Adirondack Champlain Regional Salt Summit, Lake Placid, NY - October 3, 2019

Agenda & Presentations
  • 2019 Road Salt Education Workshop Agenda (PDF)
  • Setting the Stage for Today - Brendan Wiltse, AuSable River Association
  • Lake George Salt Reduction Successes - Dan Stec, NYS Assembly, District 114; Eric Siy, the FUND for Lake George; Raqib Omer, Viaseys; Rob Vopleus, Town of Lake George Highway Dept; Matt Coffin, Town of Hague Highway Dept; Steve Johnson, Warren County DPW
  • How Changing Weather Patterns Are Impacting Winter Maintenance Approaches - Frank Lombardo, President/CEO, WeatherWorks
  • Adirondack Park-wide Pilot and Pledge Recognition - Brittany Christenson, AdkAction

Lake Champlain Watershed Deicing Conference, Burlington, VT - October 10, 2018

Agenda & Presentations

Lake Champlain Watershed Deicing Conference, Burlington, VT - September 29, 2017


Salt Smart Certified Professionals

In October 2021, Lake Champlain Sea Grant hosted Fortin Consulting to provide the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Winter Maintenance Training for Parking Lots and Sidewalks

These individuals successfully completed the training and an exam and became Smart Salt Certified Winter Maintenance Professionals:
  • Robert Cary, S&D Snowblowing, Essex, Vermont
  • Adam Cate, City of South Burlington, Vermont
  • Nicholas DeGraff, S&D Snowblowing, Essex, Vermont
  • Christine Dougherty, Town of Williston, Vermont
  • Keith Dunbar, S&D Snowblowing, Essex, Vermont
  • David Lenz, Middlesex Ice Control, Middletown, Connecticut
  • Dan Roberge, Town of Essex, Vermont
  • Lisa Schaeffler, Town of Williston, Vermont
  • Aaron Smith, S&D Snowblowing, Essex, Vermont