Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Fall has come to the North Country. A time of changing leaves and brisk weather, but it’s a short-lived season. Winter is on its way, which means snow and ice, and their contentious combatant — road salt.
Warren County and the town of Hague have earned the Sustainable Winter Management (SWiM(r)) Program certification for reducing the use of road salt — and its runoff into Lake George and other waterways — while maintaining safe driving conditions.
The certifications were presented Thursday at the Adirondack Champlain Regional Salt Summit, organized by The FUND for Lake George, Lake George Waterkeeper, Lake Champlain Sea Grant, AdkAction and the Ausable River Association. This year’s Summit drew a record crowd of approximately 150 government, business, scientific and not-for-profit representatives to the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid for presentations on the latest methods and equipment for safe road salt reduction, and strategies for adapting winter road management practices to changing weather patterns.
Warren County and Hague are part of the successful Lake George Salt Reduction Initiative coordinated by The FUND for Lake George. The FUND has identified road salt runoff as one of the greatest threats to the water quality of the Lake and other area waterways.
The SWiM(r) certification was developed and is administered by winter management consulting firm WIT Advisers, LLC, of Delanson, NY. In 2018, the town of Lake George became the first municipality in North America to earn the certification.
Among the best practice techniques used by the county and town are applying pre-coatings of liquid brine on roads in advance of winter storms to minimize ice buildup; using special “live edge” plows to remove snow closer to the road surface; and equipping their plow trucks with technologies that calibrate and track road salt application and monitor road conditions.
Eric Siy, executive director of The FUND for Lake George, said, “Thanks in large part to the leadership and investment of Warren County and Hague, and the diligent work of their highway departments, the Lake George Salt Reduction Initiative has become a national model for protecting waterways against the consequences of road salt runoff.”
Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky said, “(The county and town’s) ability to self-assess their performance and strive for continuous improvement will make a big difference in the long-term health of the Lake.”
Matt Simpson, chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors’ Public Works Committee and supervisor of the town of Horicon, said, “We are thrilled to have earned this certification and proud to be part of the collaborative effort between The FUND for Lake George, the county and its municipalities, and private-sector businesses to keep our Lake clear and clean.”