Sudbury advocacy group wants to limit salt used on roads in order to protect the local watershed
As winter winds down and the snow melt begins, the Greater Sudbury Watershed Alliance is calling on the city to do more to protect our waterways from road salt.
The alliance released a statement indicating its concern that there isn’t enough being done to protect local water systems from exposure.
When road salt migrates after the melt, there is no way from stopping it from entering waterways.
“It’s possible to remove it but is prohibitively expensive – so no one does that and so once it dissolves into the system and you can’t filter it out so the sodium is now increasing in lake Ramsey,” said Richard Witham with the alliance.
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In 2006, the city was one of the first in Canada to implement a procedure to reduce the amount of road salt by using sand whenever possible.
“We try to make sure we look at a very focused watershed level to ensure we’re doing the kinds of things to protect and mitigate the effects of urbanization,” said Tony Cecutti, the general manager of Growth and Infrastructure for the City of Greater Sudbury.
Witham said development around Ramsey Lake is of particular concern.
Officials with the water alliance said they want the city to deem the roads as residential, as they would prefer the use of sand over salt.
“We’re aware there is going to be development within the Ramsey lake sub-water shed but if it’s development that’s only using residential roads then in fact they’re not obligated to salt,” said Witham.
“Then they can sand and as a result we’re not adding to the problem.”
Cecutti told CTV News the city shares the same concerns for the watershed around Ramsey Lake and continue to plan any future developments accordingly.
“Certainty the Ramsey Lake watershed is one where we are anticipating for the most part residential development, so I would say for the most part we will be adhering to that aspirational goal,” said Cecutti.
Even with the upcoming arrival of spring, there is still snow in the forecast – which means the local ecosystems will still have likely weeks of road salt exposure.
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