A look at the impact of winter maintenance chemicals

By Mike Renzella

The Haldimand Press

HALDIMAND—With winter comes the usual hazards we as Canadians are all too familiar with – dangerous driving conditions and slippery sidewalks – but we have developed systems to deal with these risks. However, those systems were at the heart of a report forwarded to municipalities along Lake Erie by the Lake Erie Region Source Protection Committee (LERSPC).

The report, which was accepted by Haldimand Council members as information, asks the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) to make adjustments, including finding new ways to stop the over-application of winter chemicals, updated training for agencies involved in winter maintenance, and training and certification for any property or business owner in charge of spreading chemicals on their property. It also asks the Ontario Government to amend the Clean Water Act to enable municipalities to protect their municipal drinking water supplies from the application and storage of winter maintenance chemicals.

David Pressey, Director of Roads Operations for Haldimand County, said the main materials used in Haldimand’s winter operations are salt and sand. The County uses a technique known as ‘on-board pre-wetting’, which involves adding a manufactured salt brine to the salt/sand as it is applied to the road surface. Doing so allows for the reduction of materials used, while providing the same level of effectiveness.

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