needs more salt

Continuing on the town’s decision to move to increasing its salt application for winter maintenance which I posted on here:

In 2003 Richmond Hill built a Snow Storage facility which I highlighted in comments to a post back in August here:

I see over on Evelyn Buck’s blog the whole process is being labeled as “useless”:

Hold on a minute, where are we hearing that this process is useless?

The Town of Richmond Hill’s efforts are in direct response to Environment Canada’s 2001 Road Salt Assessment Report:

And a 2004 Code of Practice for Environmental Management of Road Salts:

Richmond Hill’s salt management plan in 2011, a link is available on their website here:

Their so called “useless” Snow Storage facility was recognized for technical innovation by Ontario Public Works in 2007, a performance evaluation study is available here:

Don’t like that take, okay here’s a 2010 report on Assessing the Efficacy of Current Road Salt Management Programs prepared by the National Water Research Institute and the University of Waterloo:

This report provides data collected from Richmond Hill’s “useless” effort including a reading of concentrations of selected chemicals in snow pile samples on page 119.

Figure 48. on page 123 depicts average chloride concentration in and cumulative mass of chloride out in 2007 at the Richmond Hill SSDF.

Figure 49. on page 124 shows us Buffering of chloride / conductivity peaks during passage through the Richmond Hill stormwater pond.

Table 23 (pages 126 – 128) provides a greater breakdown of chemicals or materials in snowmelt along with their environmental impact

Toronto and Vaughan are also referenced in the report.

Who cares you may ask?

As Aurorans we all should.

The community has a role in protecting Lake Simcoe, by keeping contaminates out of the water system. As touched on in this September 4the, 2013 piece in The Auroran:

The Town of Aurora Comprehensive Stormwater Management Master Plan can be found attached to the town’s Environmental Advisory Committee Agenda of May 5th 2014 here:

On page 13 we read

In addition to current pollution prevention control measures practiced within the Town of Aurora, measures of particular interest to stormwater quality management are:

Salt Management measures; and Snow Disposal practices

In October, 2013, the Town finalized its Salt Management Plan for the years 2013-2018. Implementation considerations in that regard are discussed in Section 9 of the CSWM-MP document.

The Salt Management Plan indicates that effective communication with Environment Canada concerning salt management activities will be pursued annually, and based on a Communication Policy. Moreover, the Salt Management Plan emphasizes the need to work with other agencies to identify and map salt-vulnerable areas, in addition to pursuing the identification of strategies to reduce salt impacts to salt-vulnerable areas.

Scroll through to page 148 and we read further:

In October, 2013, the Town finalized its Salt Management Plan for the years 2013-2018. Potential salt management priorities for the Town of Aurora may include the following:

1. Management of winter road salt storage and application on private lands that include parking lots and public access;
2. Management of salt content in effluent from municipal water pollution control plant;
3. Management of winter road salt storage and application on residential parcels;
4. Management of potential salt loadings in private sewage disposal systems, including use of water softeners

Generally speaking, Salt Monitoring Programs are essential to evaluate the storage, transport, and fate of salt released from salt storage sites, road salt application, and snow disposal sites.

Estimating the total salt budget of the Town of Aurora would facilitate management scenarios and provide public education. In order to quantitatively assess the impact of salt loading, implemented monitoring program should incorporate measurements for salt loading as well as concentrations.

Hmm, management scenarios and public education. Where are those?

An implemented monitoring program that incorporates measurements for salt loading as well as concentrations. Where is that?

Let’s go looking.

Included in the budget review meeting of March 23rd of this year was Report No. IES14-047:

On page 5 it references a 2005 Salt Management Plan identifying a number of initiatives to improve how the Town manages salt.

Among activities completed in support of this plan is: • Reduced sand salt blend from 12% to 10%

Attached to the GC Meeting of September 2nd 2014 is Report IES14-047.

In Appendix B we find v1.0 of the town’s Salt Management Plan for 2014-2019:

The Salt Management Plan strives to minimize the amount of salt entering the environment by including best salt management practices, and using new technologies to ensure its most effective use over the road system.

Under Purpose:

The Plan demonstrates the Town’s commitment to reducing the environmental effects of excessive salt use, consistent with Environment Canada’s stated objectives.

Under Salt Management Principles:

The Town of Aurora will continue to show leadership locally, provincially and nationally in the area of road salt management by leading by example and sharing their knowledge and experiences with others.
Yet later in the document under Current Situation we learn that the town has fully recognized the salt vulnerable groundwater sources identified by the LSRCA that I mentioned in my previous post.

And then state that there has been no effort to correlate those areas to the town’s salting activities or salt storage:

You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and Aurora doesn’t measure.

So remind me again how Richmond Hill’s process is “useless” while the Town of Aurora’s decision to increase its use of salt demonstrates leadership locally, provincially and nationally in the area of road salt management.

Watts on your mind?

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