The road less salted: a look into the impacts of road salt

Dan Mountain & Josh Kilner / February 7th, 2019

Rock salts over time can break down and impact cement, bridges, automobiles, soil, freshwater and animal feet)
(BCIT News / Josh Kilner)

More salt, more problems

Salt is corrosive. It corrodes the bridges and roads you drive over, the body and paint of your car, soil, freshwater and even aggravates the paws of your furry companions.

Salt is the preferred method of combatting ice Canada-wide. According to an Environment Canada 2009 estimate, Canada uses approximately 5,000,000 tonnes of salt per year on roads and surfaces as a deicing agent.

But how much salt is too much? How can the amount of salts being used be reduced, while also keeping the roads clear of ice? What are the alternatives to road salts?

“High releases of road salts were having adverse effects on freshwater ecosystems, soil, vegetation and wildlife, but did not affect human health.” – Geneviève Groulx, Environment and Climate Change Canada