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How Safe Is Your Snow Removal?

2011 January 31

By Denise Owens

The snow was coming down so pretty and white and quickly my yard became covered. After snowing for hours, it was then time to clean up the pretty white stuff.

So I started shoveling my walkway to make it safer walking to and from the house. After shoveling for awhile, I decided there’s no way I could shovel my driveway. Although it wasn’t a foot of snow, it was just enough to make it difficult for me to drive in my driveway. So I decided to have my driveway cleared. I looked in the phonebook. Surprisingly, no, the Internet has not changed my old habit of using a phone book to find a company for snow removal.

I called several companies and unfortunately a lot of them were booked for the day. But I looked out of my window and noticed that one of my neighbors had a person come out and clear their driveway. So I walked over to ask if he could do the same for me. He agreed to come over to clear my driveway. He cleared my driveway with his truck and applied salt.

Later my neighbor came over and asked what was applied to our driveways. I guessed it was salt, and he asked whether I was sure, so I asked him why’d he ask that. He said it has a color to it, so I then went out to see, and it did have a color to it. It must have been some type of chemical. I had no way of finding out what was used because this guy that cleared my driveway was just going door to door. So my neighbor then said we must be careful what’s being used because we have animals and plus it ruins your driveway and the environment. So please make sure you know what’s being used when having your snow removed.

What do you use to remove your snow? Is it environmentally safe?

About the author: Denise Owens has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency for over 25 years.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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12 Responses leave one →
  1. Lowell Allen permalink
    January 31, 2011

    You could list the melting compounds that are eco safe, and where on the packages to look to determine what is in them. I am not a chemist so could not determine the “codes” that were listed. I had to rely on the print that said safe for lawns and animals.

  2. Conservation Agent permalink
    January 31, 2011

    There are a variety of pet safe and low or no sodium products available to use for de-icing. Pet stores in pariticular have pet safe products. Salts should not beused adjacent to wetlands and waterways.

  3. Dan Foster permalink
    January 31, 2011

    I sold my 2 stage snow blower two years ago as part of my plan to create a net zero energy house. I use an electric snow shovel (Black and Decker for $99) for big snows which is much easier to maneuver and doesn’t pollute like my snowblower. I use a snow shovel for most snows. I never use salt or any chemical.

  4. Joe A permalink
    January 31, 2011

    Dan says he sold his “2 stage snow blower two years ago as part of my plan to create a net zero energy house.” Wow! You save gas energy and then create electric energy? Zero energy in this case will be hand-shoveling.

  5. Joe permalink
    January 31, 2011

    Hand-shoveling will equate zero energy not going from gas to electric.

  6. Alexander permalink
    January 31, 2011

    I clean my way by snow shovel. It is good for my health and environmentally safe.

  7. ramizfx permalink
    January 31, 2011

    yah its very safe in winter snow removal that can make our body clean n keep our body maintain from the snow

  8. Vegas permalink
    February 1, 2011

    The point raised in this post is quite obvious because if we are not careful about the different chemicals used during cleaning, then it might harm us and our environment. We should be more conscious especially if there are small children or pets in the house. So I prefer to entrust the responsibility on a reputed company.

  9. BillB permalink
    February 3, 2011

    Giving in and needing to be plowed out is one thing, but I was very surprised you would ask to have salt or something else put down. Here in the northeast (upstate NY) most folks don’t worry about that for their driveway. Maybe on a sidewalk you use something, and may businesses do – probably fear of getting sued if someone falls. But overall I think the best way to go for a driveway is nothing at all.

  10. internet permalink
    February 14, 2011

    Hi, Every year hundreds of people injure their backs, or worse, by shoveling snow. Maybe :
    # Always shovel lighter loads of snow, not a heavily packed shovel.
    # Don’t shovel soon after you wake up. A slipped disc injury is much more likely to occur in the morning due to the build-up of fluid in the disc from lying down all night.
    # Take breaks often.
    # Elderly should consider calling on a neighborhood youth or a professional to shovel their walks or if getting around isn’t a problem, buy a snowblower. These machines do all the work for you while all you have to do is push them.Use a snowblower for heavy, wet snow ~

  11. DPalmer permalink
    February 17, 2011

    Good tips for eco friendly snow removal summarized.
    1) co-op sharing of snow thrower in neighborhood
    2) helping youth and yourself by paying for manual shoveling
    3) use of electric snow thrower rather than gas – less emissions

  12. pest Control permalink
    July 18, 2011

    Snow removal is not easy job for any person.It requires some good tool to do this hard job.You need to minimize your pain while enhancing your gain. You need to reduce your time outdoors in foul weather doing a big, ugly job.

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