Snow and Ice
Always call 911 if you are in immediate danger and need emergency help.
How we address severe winter conditions can create specific environmental problems, indoors and out. This page provides information about how to be aware of and reduce risks when severe snow and ice is forecast.
Homeowners often use gasoline-powered generators for emergency electricity but these release deadly carbon monoxide (CO).
Municipalities and airports can plan ahead to use deicing chemicals help ensure safe transportation but avoid harming local ecosystems or contaminating drinking water supplies.
Other sites related to preparedness:
- National Weather Service: weather forecast and summary
- EPA: General winter tips for reducing waste, saving energy, and more
Around your home:
People get sick or die each year from carbon monoxide or "CO" poisoning due to unsafe use of generators.
- ALERT: Generator exhaust is toxic. Always put generators outside well away from doors, windows, and vents. Never use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas. Carbon monoxide (CO) is deadly, can build up quickly, and linger for hours. More information.
- Never try to heat your home using a "combustion appliances" like a gas stove, oven, barbeque grill, or dryer. Never operate any gas-burning heater or other appliance in a poorly vented or closed room, or where you are sleeping.
- Listen: Public Service Announcement about carbon monoxide
- en español: Proteja su vida y la de su familia: Evite el envenenamiento con monóxido de carbono (español) - conozca los síntomas del envenenamiento con monóxido de carbono. | Más: Tormentas de nieve y hielo
Clearing ice? Read about options that are less harmful than salt, from Design for the Environment.
For municipalities and airports:
- Manual for Deicing Chemicals: Application Practices– The results of a study about minimizing the loss to the environment of chemicals used in controlling snow and ice on highways.
- Road Salt Application and Storage - Application and storage of deicing materials, most commonly salts such as sodium chloride, can lead to water quality problems for surrounding areas. Municipalities in areas with snowfall that requires deicing must ensure proper storage for materials such as road salts.
- Airport deicing effluent guidelines - Airports are required to obtain stormwater discharge permits and ensure that wastes from deicing operations are properly collected and treated.
- Storm Water Technology Fact Sheet: Airplane Deicing Fluid Recovery Systems- This describes the recovery of spent ethylene glycol or propylene glycol through a three-stage process typically consisting of filtration, contaminant removal, and distillation. (more about PDF)