IWA Publishing

Adoption of best practices for the environmental management of road salt in Ontario

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There are increasing concerns regarding the adverse environmental impacts of chloride from road salts. A web-based survey was conducted to determine how the Code of Practice for the environmental management of road salts has influenced the adoption of best practices in Ontario, Canada. The majority of large Ontario municipalities have salt management plans that adequately address safety and the environment. Most municipalities train a high percentage of permanent staff but only half of seasonal workers and 21% of private contractors are trained. Most training programs cover key learning goals defined by the Code of Practice. There is little improvement in the management of salt-vulnerable areas. Many existing snow disposal sites are poorly designed and do not manage snowmelt quality. The Code has strongly contributed to the adoption and improvement of salt management practices in Ontario by helping to standardize practices and advance the rate of implementation of best practices. Barriers to further implementation of the Code include understanding the Code, institutional will, liability, limited technical/financial resources and public expectation of high service levels. Further benefits can be achieved by aggressively promoting the Code and improving education and training programs for the public, private contractors and staff of road authorities.

Keywords: Code of Practice, road salt management, salt management plans, salt-vulnerable areas

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