When the weather outside gets frightful, managing snow and ice becomes an environmental challenge. Gas-powered snow removal equipment creates both air and noise pollution. Excessive chemical applications to melt ice can be harmful to trees, other plants and streams. You can keep your drive, pathways and sidewalks* clear while keeping your surroundings clean and safe by following these simple guidelines:
*Per City Code, residents must remove snow and ice from sidewalks surrounding the property 12 hours after snowfall. If the snow falls at night, residents have 12 hours after sunrise to remove it. For commercial properties, the time limits for removal are 6 hours. Snow/ice must not be placed on city streets.
Make it easy on yourself by getting out early and often with your ergonomic snow shovel, ice cracker and broom to clear snow before it accumulates. Or make it easier still by hiring the kid down the street to do it—call the Recreation & Parks Department at 703-248-5077 (TTY 711) for a list of teens who will do snow-shoveling.
- If you need a snow blower for larger areas, quiet, exhaust-free battery- or electric-powered models can meet most homeowners needs. If you have a really large area to clear, consider getting a gas-powered blower with a two-stage, four-stroke engine which is quieter, more efficient and has lower emissions than a single-stage, two-stroke engine. Save unused gasoline in the blower at the end of the year by adding a gas stabilizer — don’t burn it off.
- Once you’ve cleared the snow, a light scattering of bird seed, sand, ashes, sawdust or non-clumping kitty litter may be all you need for traction. If you really need ice melt, look for products with the EPA Safer Choice label, which identifies products with safer chemical ingredients without sacrificing quality or performance. Always read and follow the label directions!
- If you use a snow removal service, choose an eco-friendly company or request that your current service use environmentally safe products.
Non-clumping litter is a purrfect way to help with sidewalk traction.