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Greater Sudbury encourages residents to curb use of road salt

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A new environmental initiative by the City of Greater Sudbury aims to educate people on how to use road salt more responsibly.

It's handing out free cups for people to measure their salt to encourage them to use less – and help the environment in the process.

The educational initiative includes handing out the 12-ounce cups at area libraries. City officials said a little salt can cover a larger area than most people think.

"There is a balance between too much and too little," said Jennifer Babin-Fenske, the climate change coordinator with the City of Greater Sudbury.

“We want to encourage people just to think about how much they use (and whether) they really do need to use that much.”

The city said salt can cause corrosion of concrete, wood and metal. There are also many negative environmental impacts.

"If you think of salt in the springtime, if it's melted onto your side areas the grass might be dead along that area,” she said.

“It does affect vegetation. And if it gets into our waterways, it's affecting the fish and other aquatic water life. And that chloride isn't good for our drinking water.”

The city said salt is used on only 25 per cent of city roads and it's had a road salt management plan in place since 2005.

"In order to ensure that we’re optimizing the use of salt and minimizing the amount of salt that is going into the environment," said Brittany Hallam, the city’s director of linear infrastructure services.

“So we want to be conscious of our source water protection plan and to ensure as little is going into the lakes as possible.”

Information printed on the 12-ounce cup shows it contains enough salt to cover 10 sidewalk squares, or 500 square feet. It also clarifies that rock salt is less effective when it’s -12C or colder. 

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