Nova Scotia Ahead of Road Salt Announcement

Department of Transportation and Public Works (to Oct. 23 2007)

November 30, 2001 0:33 AM

Nova Scotia has taken several steps to manage its use of road
salt, in advance of today's announcement by Environment Canada.

The federal government is recommending that road salt be added to
its list of substances that are harmful to the environment in
Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. It is
not, however, considered harmful to people and is not being
banned anywhere in Canada.

"I'm proud to say we got an early jump on this issue," said Ron
Russell, Minister of Transportation and Public Works. "Our
maritime environment demands that we apply road salt to protect
the travelling public. But we'll continue to play our part in
managing its use to protect the environment."

Prior to today's announcement, the Department of Transportation
and Public Works had already taken action on four measures that
should help reduce salt use:

--expanding its use of pre-wetting, or adding brine to the salt
to make it stick better to road surfaces. Dry salt has a tendency
to bounce off the road;

--increasing from six to 13 the number of highway sensors that
help detect oncoming bad weather. This helps staff determine the
best time to distribute salt;

--constructing modern storage facilities for salt domes or sheds,
as funding allows, to prevent leaks into the environment; and

--implementing new winter maintenance standards that require
crews to provide consistent, measurable ice and snow removal
service to all areas of Nova Scotia.

These salt-management programs will be evaluated and expanded
where beneficial.

"Until someone comes up with a better solution, road authorities
will have to use salt," added Mr. Russell. "But we will work with
experts in this field over the next several years to create an
effective strategy that works here in Nova Scotia."

Mr. Russell added that the province looks forward to working with
other road authorities to evaluate best practices and to reach
workable, cost-effective solutions. The province will continue to
participate in a salt management working group established by the
Transportation Association of Canada.

A copy of the association's publication "Road Salt and Snow and
Ice Control" can be viewed online at .

The Department of Transportation and Public Works spends about
$31 million a year to control snow and ice on the province's
highways. That includes money for salt and sand, fuel, equipment
and labour. It applies about 260,000 tonnes of salt each winter.

An additional 500 staff are hired each winter, bringing the total
workforce of the Highway Operations division to 1,400. The
department uses about 400 plows for winter maintenance, including
graders, trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles.


     Nova Scotia has taken several steps to manage the use

of road salt in the winter.

     Transportation Minister Ron Russell says the province was

expecting the federal government to recommend that road salt be

listed as harmful to the environment.

     Mr. Russell says public safety is the first priority, which

means salt will continue to be used for snow and ice control.

The department has already begun to reduce salt use.


Contact: Richard Perry
         Transportation and Public Works
         Cell: 902-497-1592

jrh         November 30, 2001        12:31 P.M.