The City is aware of the risks of road salt to the environment and has been enacting improvements to the way salt is transported, stored and used to reduce the amount of salt entering the environment. The reduction in salt use is balanced with the need to keep roads and sidewalks safe for users at a reasonable cost.

The Salt Management Plan will ensure that the City stores and uses road salt wisely. The plan includes:

  • an annual audit of existing salt spreading practices and operations to determine what improvements should be considered
  • an annual inspection of salt storage facilities at all city yards and camps; many minor deficiencies have already been corrected, and new measures are being proposed
  • ensuring that salt deliveries are done during non-inclement weather and tarped to protect against spillage and wind
  • ensuring spreader controls are calibrated and accurate records are kept and how salt is handled at city yards
  • installation of infrared pavement temperature sensors on additional patrol and supervisory vehicles to assist staff in determining actual road temperature conditions
  • introduction of a number of new salt spreading trucks with electronic controls to the city’s fleet; future plans call for more new vehicles to replacing ageing trucks with outdated controls
  • fitting a number of trucks with anti-icing and pre-wetting equipment; anti-icing and pre-wetting trials will be conducted using alternative de-icing products
  • increased staff training for staff who apply salt to roads
  • a review of snow disposal sites, addressing where the disposal sites are located and which remediation resources are necessary
  • installation of five Road Weather Information System units at key locations within the city
    • these units are local automated weather reporting stations that also use sensors embedded in the roadway to provide continuous information on air and pavement temperatures
    • this is to help staff in making informed decisions on when to begin using salt on roads and
  • installation of global positioning units in some trucks in order to conduct a pilot study to track the location of trucks and to record when and where salt has been spread and at what application rate
  • The City has 200 salt trucks and typically uses 130,000 – 150,000 tonnes of salt annually
  • City budgets for 14,000 tonnes of sand annually
  • City receives approximately 130 cm of snow annually
  • Employees involved in snow clearing and removal operations (1,000 City staff, 600 contractors)