The snow and ice removal program involves all Public Works personnel and equipment in clearing over 37 miles of Village streets. Snow and ice removal is accomplished on a priority basis. The number one priority is to make two passes through each street and open main thoroughfares to emergency facilities. The second priority is to push back snow from the streets to the curbs. After the snow has been pushed back to the curb, intersections will be pushed back. Snow removal service is also provided for Village parking lots and selected pedestrian / bike paths.
A snow emergency may be declared when special measures must be taken to permit effective movement of traffic and to clear snow and ice from Village streets as a result of excessive accumulation of snow or other dangerous conditions. When a snow emergency is declared it is announced through local media outlets and on the local cable access Channel 982 & 98 and posted on the Village website.
Do Not Blow Snow Into the Streets: It is a violation of Village ordinances to plow, blow, or shovel snow into Village streets. This can cause a serious hazard for pedestrians and motorists, especially when it is done after the Public Works crew has already plowed the street.
Sidewalk Snow and Ice Removal: Residents are reminded that snow and ice must be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours from the time snow ceases to accumulate. Residents must also keep sidewalks sprinked with sand and/or salt to permit safe travel by pedestrians. Citations will be issued for violations of this ordinance.
The Village encourages residents to clear snow from around fire hydrants and mailboxes. Members of both the Fire Department and the Post Office appreciate your help!
Adopt a Fire Hydrant: With the heavy snowfalls we often experience in winter, many fire hydrants may become partially blocked by snow. If you have a fire hydrant in your yard, the Fire Department would greatly appreciate your assistance in clearing snow from the immediate area. A few minutes of shoveling now could make a big difference if a house in your neighborhood should catch on fire.
Mailboxes: Snowplow operators try very hard to avoid mailboxes when plowing streets. With daily exposure to the elements, mailboxes and their posts do deteriorate over time and may not be able to withstand the rigors of Wisconsin's snow, freezing rain, and high winds. Please check the condition of your mailbox and post and, if necessary, repair or replace them prior to winter. The Public Works Department will repair/replace mailboxes and their posts if they are hit directly by Village snow plows but cannot be responsible for mailboxes and/or posts that are so weak that the weight of plowed snow or slush simply pushes them over.
Pet Waste in Winter: It’s very important to continue to pick up after your pet all year long, especially during winter. If you don’t pick up pet waste right away, it can soon be encased in snow and ice, ready to be carried away with melt water when it warms up. Grassy areas that would normally allow water to soak in are frozen during winter, so they’re more like a parking lot greatly increasing the surface area from which runoff flows. So, the bacteria and nutrients found in pet waste are much more likely to make their way to the nearest storm drain. And contrary to common belief, rain and melting snow that goes into storm drains does not go to the sewage treatment plant. Rather, it goes to the nearest lake or stream. So, be sure to continue to scoop the poop this winter and do your part to help keep lakes and streams free of pet waste. For more ideas on how you can help lakes and streams near you, go to www.myfairlakes.com.
Put Sidewalk and Drive on a Low-Salt Diet*
For safety reasons, we need to keep driveways and sidewalks clear of ice and snow. However, choosing the right product and using it correctly is important to help protect our water resources.
1. Shovel early, shovel often. There’s no substitute for muscle and elbow grease for snow and ice removal. Remove as much snow as you can during the storm if possible. Use a hoe or other tools to chip or scrape ice off the surface before any deicers are applied. Deicers work best when there is only a thin layer of snow or ice that must be melted. Divert the melting snow away from your sidewalk and driveway to an area where ice won’t be a problem.
2. Buy early. Make sure to buy your deicing product well before the big storm hits, otherwise you will be looking at empty shelves, and have few, if any, environmental choices to make at the store.
3. Check the label. The products below shows how the main ingredients of common de-icing products compare. Check the package closely to see what you’re buying—often a product may contain several of the ingredients listed below, but the first one listed is usually the main ingredient.
Product: Calcium Chloride
Works Down to: -25 degrees F
Cost: three times more than rock salt
Environmental Concerns: Use three times less than rock salt, No Cyanide, Chloride impact
Product: Magnesium Chloride
Works Down to: 5 degrees F
Environmental Concerns: less toxic and safer for environment than calcium chloride
Product: NaCl: Sodium Chloride or “rock salt”
Works Down to: 15 degrees F
Cost: about $5 for a 50 pound bag
Environmental Concerns: Contains cyanide, Chloride impacts
Works Down to: 20 to 25 degrees F
Cost: Five times more than rock salt
Environmental Concerns: Needless nutrients, Less Corrosion
Product: Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA)
Works Down to: 22 to 25 degrees F
Cost: 20 times more than rock salt
Environmental Concerns: Less toxic
Works Down to: No melting effect
Cost: about $3 for a 50 lb bag
Environmental Concerns: Accumulates in streets and streams; needs to be swept up
4. Apply salt early, but sparingly. No matter which chloride product you choose, a little goes a long way. Additional salt won’t speed up the melting process, so follow directions for application carefully and remember to first remove as much snow and ice as you can. The recommended application rate for sodium chloride is about a handful per square yard. Calcium chloride works at much colder temperatures and you need a lot less (about a handful per three square yards—about the area of a single bed). Choose calcium chloride over sodium chloride when you can.
5. Avoid kitty litter and ashes. Although these products may seem environmentally friendlier, they don’t work to melt snow and ice—they merely provide some traction and make a mess on your floors. Stick with sand for traction, which is cheaper and easier to clean up.
6. Avoid Products that Contain Urea. Urea has been recommended as a safer alternative, reasoning that it does not contain chlorides and, as a form of nitrogen, will help fertilize your yard when it washes off. However, urea-based deicing products are a poor choice as it is fairly expensive and performs poorly when temperatures drop below 20 degrees F. The application rate for urea during a single deicing is ten times greater than that needed to fertilize the same area of your yard, and ultimately, very little of the urea will actually get onto your lawn, but will end up washing into the street and storm drain and eventually to the nearest lake or stream. Given that nitrogen is a problem for surface water resources, it doesn’t make sense to use nitrogen-based products for de-icing.
7. Consider nearby vegetation. Look at the plants growing within five or ten feet of your driveway, sidewalk and road. Salt-sensitive plants are listed below. If you have salt-sensitive tree, shrub or grass close to these paved surfaces, you should avoid any de-icing product that contains chlorides (magnesium chloride, rock salt or calcium chloride), or use very small amounts. You may want to use CMA as a safer alternative, or use sand for traction.
Species at Risk from Salting
Deciduous Trees: Tulip polar, Green ash, Hickory, Red maple, Sugar Maple
Conifers: Balsam fir, White pine, Hemlock, Norway Spruce
Shrubs: Dogwood, redbud, hawthorn, rose, spirea
Grasses: Kentucky bluegrass, Red fescue
* Adapted from Snow, Road Salt and the Chesapeake Bay by Tom Schueler, Center for Watershed Protection