JANESVILLE, Wis. -

Whenever the snow falls in Wisconsin, county officials face a tenuous balancing act -- laying down enough salt to keep roads clear but not applying so much as to hurt the environment. It's a balance that isn't easy to manage.

A Janesville Gazette report (http://bit.ly/1dj7cP9 ) says a single teaspoon of salt can contaminate five gallons of water, and salt trucks spread about 300 pounds of salt per mile.

That adds up to the potential for significant water contamination.

Walworth County public-works director Kevin Brunner says consumers are part of the problem. He says they expect completely bare pavement, so officials have to be liberal about applying salt.

But because salt doesn't degrade or disappear, it accumulates in the state's waterways.

State officials recommend minimal salt followed by aggressive plowing.