Making Our Communities Less Salty

Back of an industrial truck dispensing salt on a road in winter.

Ways to Reduce the Impacts of Road Salt

And just like that, we’ve said goodbye to autumn foliage and hello to winter wonders. Temperatures have dropped and the season of slippery roads, driveways and sidewalks has arrived.

For decades, road salt (sodium chloride) has been used to melt snow and ice to keep roads and walkways safe. Often more road salt is applied than needed. A little goes a long way to melt snow and ice and expose the surface below for greater traction. Only 12 ounces of salt is needed for a six-metre driveway. However, salt doesn’t just stay on roads and walkways. It eventually makes its way into the Credit River, affecting water quality and wildlife.

Fish under water.
Brook trout are vulnerable to road salt.

Smart Salt Use

We can all reduce our road salt use by following these best practices alongside other maintenance products:

  • Ensure downspouts are directed away from walkways and high-traffic areas.
  • Grade parking lots toward drainage zones.
  • Clear as much snow and ice as you can before applying road salt.
  • Close off under-used walkways and parking lots.
  • Keep salt piles covered, contained and away from storm sewers.

Local businesses can learn how to reduce salt use on their properties by joining CVC’s Greening Corporate Grounds. Connect with us to learn more about salt management.

A walkway with a person spreading salt on it.
The amount of chlorides has steadily increased in streams throughout the Credit River Watershed since the 1970s.

Why use less?

Using less salt is beneficial because it can:

  • Reduce conventional winter maintenance costs.
  • Protect buildings, vehicles and equipment from salt damage.
  • Protect plants, trees and shrubs on your property from damage.
  • Reduce chloride pollution of freshwater lakes, rivers and streams.
  • Protect freshwater species.

In an interview with CBC News, learn how CVC used beet juice to experiment with de-icing at CVC Head Office.

Learn more about the long-term effects of salt in our watershed.

By Kimberley Laird, Associate, Marketing and Communication

Comments (5)

  1. I would like to know two things: what are the other constituents of beet juice, and, since the nearest Canadian beet plants are in Alberta, what is the GHG contribution of trucking juice?

    1. Credit Valley Conservation

      Thank you for your question, David. The beet-based product used at the main office as liquid anti-icing is Fusion 2330, which is 30% beet juice + 70% salt brine. You can contact the supplier, Eco-solutions, for details on the raw material’s origin. We don’t have an estimate of the GHG the transportation might generate. Still, we know that Fusion 2330 has 86% less Chloride than regular NaCl solid salt, reducing the input of this ion on our watershed.

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