Environment Canada Releases Its 5-Year Review Of The Use of Road Salts

17 Apr 2012 3:13 PM | Deleted user

On April 11th, 2012 Environment Canada released its long awaited review of the progress on the effectiveness of its Code of Practice for the Environmental Management of Road Salts published in 2004. The report is available at this link.

Although the Code of Practice deals predominantly with road-related salt use, the Five-Year Review comments on the importance of addressing road salts used in other locations - including parking lots and sidewalks.

The report states- "The results obtained in the first five years of the Code are encouraging. Reporting was generally good, and the level of adoption of the Code by road organizations was high. Environment Canada will continue to promote the Code and encourage all road organizations to adopt it and to report consistently on their efforts."

The report makes reference to studies that show that the effective application of best winter maintenance practices has resulted in reduction of salt use by up to 45% in some areas and as high as 50% reduction in long-term chloride concentrations in groundwater.

The report also shows that, since 2001, total roadway injuries and fatalities have not increased as a result of salt reduction despite increased motor vehicle registrations and vehicle-kilometres traveled.

Despite the progress that has been made the report concludes that "chloride loadings remain a concern for heavily urbanized areas that have hight road densities, and large ares of public and private parking lots and sidewalks." Furthermore it states "that some site-specific situations may exist, where road salts used for private and institutional winter maintenance may be contributing significantly to the accumulation of chlorides in the environment."

The Smart About Salt Council continues to foster effective salt management on parking lots and sidewalks to reduce the impacts that excessive use of road salts is having on the environment.

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