2017 Road Salt Symposium draws record crowd

A record 270 attendees joined us at the Mounds View Event Center to learn about the latest innovations, trends, and best practices for reducing salt use while maintaining safe roads. Reducing salt use is a win-win that protects the environment, but also greatly reduces expense. Attendees connected with colleagues and came away with useful and practical ideas for reducing salt use.

The roster of speakers for our 16th annual Road Salt Symposium was possibly the most eclectic collection of perspectives we’ve assembled over the years. Check out their presentations here:

Is Salt Your Only Defense? Louis Smith, J.D. and Elizabeth Henley, Smith Partners PLLP

Should You Put Pickle Juice on the Road? Ron Wright, Idaho DOT

Slurry Advantages Marty Wolske, Highway Equipment Company and Steve Lueken, MnDOT

Solar Roads Laurel McKean, MoDOT

Putting Clear Roads Research to Work Tom Peters, MnDOT

Working Towards Lower Salt in the Private Sector Martin Tirado, SIMA

Environmental Leadership Awards

MPCA Chloride Initiatives Rachel Olmanson MPCA

Toward Zero Chlorides Michael Barnes MnDOT


Environmental Leadership Awards

We presented five Environmental Leadership Awards to recognize exemplary work and innovative solutions to reduce impacts of winter maintenance on our freshwater. They went to Park Nicollet Health Services (see sidebar), City of Jordan, St. Cloud VA, City of Woodbury, and Curt Pape from MnDOT. Their success stories were inspirational, real life examples of what can be done. Read more about them.

Events like these don’t happen without a lot of support. Thank you to co-host Fortin Consulting and our generous sponsors:



Model Snow and
Ice Policy

A Model Snow and Ice Management Policy Advisory Committee was convened in the summer of 2016 in response to an extraordinary interest in risk management expressed by attendees of the February 2016 Road Salt Symposium.

The framework offers a tool for cities and counties to prepare clear and complete snow and ice management policies and to help them limit the potential liability risk from these activities. Snow and ice management requires balancing public interests including public safety, equipment and material cost, environmental impact, and other concerns. The law governing public operations largely protects cities and counties from liability, in recognition of the fact that these local units must exercise judgment based on expertise, experience, and the circumstances of the occasion. The law says, however, that to merit this protection, a city or county must be able to show that competing public concerns are in play, that these concerns have been weighed, and that judgment was used in making both policy and operational decisions. The Model Policy is a tool for cities and counties to establish this foundation for their snow and ice management policies and practices.

Cities, counties, and other users of this Model Policy are encouraged to adapt and modify the Policy as appropriate to local circumstances with guidance from their respective attorneys.

Draft guidance doc

Draft contract

Draft policy and cover letter

Thanks to the following organizations that supported development of this policy:


A Chloride Management Planning process addresses ways to document current and improving practices were undertaken with a federal 319 grant  through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Three regional plans were produced in the 2014-2016 time period. Links to the final reports are below.



St. Cloud