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Winter guide


Septic Systems

  • Prevent compaction of snow on your leaching bed (e.g. by snowmobiles). Undisturbed snow cover provides good insulation; compacted snow melts slowly and can saturate your bed.

Winter Traction

  • For icy surfaces, use inexpensive sand, grit, kitty litter, saw dust or cinders. It only takes a thin layer of any of these products, scattered down your driveway or walkway to provide traction.
  • Reduce your use of salt (chloride-based de-icers) and use de-icers that contain calcium magnesium acetate or potassium acetate.


Garbage on Ice

  • To help prevent garbage and other debris left behind by visitors from freezing into ice on rivers and lakes, join forces with a few neighbours to create a Citizen’s Patrol to monitor ice and speak to visitors about garbage.
  • Plan a shoreline clean-up early in the spring to help protect nesting shorebirds.

Winter Recreation

  • Take care when accessing a frozen lake for skating, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling or tobogganing. Use your summer access trail, rather than direct paths over snow. Even through the covering of ice and snow, vegetation and bank structure can be damaged by winter traffic.

Wells and Pumps

  • In cold areas, use a light or heat lamp in an outside pumphouse to keep the pump from freezing.
  • If you have a sump pump to deal with water in the basement, keep valuables off the floor, on shelves, or on wooden blocks, especially if you leave your house unattended.

Nature Canada developed the original Living By Water program but the entire program is currently managed by Nature Alberta.
Jenna Curtis is the program coordinator at lbw@naturealberta.ca who should be contacted for specific questions about the materials.

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