Snow and Ice
ALWAYS CALL 911 if you are in immediate danger and need emergency help.
What we do during severe winter conditions and cold can create certain environmental problems, indoors or out. Learn more about reducing risks when severe snow or ice, or cold is forecast.
- What homeowners can do - gasoline-powered generators provide emergency electricity, but generators also release deadly carbon monoxide (CO).
- What municipalities and airports can do - deicing chemicals improve safe transportation on roads or airplanes, but mis-used chemicals can also contaminate waterways or drinking water sources.
Around your home:
People get sick or die each year from carbon monoxide or "CO" poisoning due to unsafe use of generators or combustion appliances.
- 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 appliance" such as 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
- Burn only dry, seasoned wood and maintain a hot fire.
- Have a certified technician inspect and service your appliance annually.
- Keep your home healthy by upgrading to an efficient, EPA-approved wood-burning appliance.
- Learn more about Burnwise and what you can do.
- VIDEO: Wood Smoke and Asthma: Dry Firewood
For communities, municipalities, or airports:
- De-icers that are safer for the environment, from EPA's Safer Choice.
- 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.
- 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.
- Airport deicing effluent guidelines - Airports are required to obtain stormwater discharge permits and ensure that wastewater associated with the deicing of airfield pavement at commercial airports from deicing operations is properly manged.
- Storm Water Technology Fact Sheet: Airplane Deicing Fluid Recovery Systems (PDF) - This describes the recovery of spent ethylene glycol or propylene glycol through a three-stage process typically consisting of filtration, contaminant removal, and distillation.