Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Salted Don

We've just had our official first stay-on-the-ground snowfall this winter and out came the bags of salt. Yes, it got kind of slippery on Friday night but do we really need mountains made of road salt to stop us from slipping? It's amazing that this is the first reaction people have: it's snowing, I'd better throw some salt on it. I hate road salt. When it's a snowy or slushy day I can just imagine it eating though my pant cuffs and my boots. The evidence is there at the end of the day when your red pants (or black or brown or whatever colour) have turned completely white at the bottom.
And quite frankly, it doesn't help all that much. Dumping a pile of salt in front of your house or in front of a store will melt the ice briefly but then, if you don't do something about it once it's melted, the pile of slush and salt will freeze up again.
When all those salt trucks go out on a run in bad weather, you can see the salt just flying off. And that salt, mixed with run-off water eventually ends up in our rivers. On a snowy day, watch the spray come off the roads from the DVP. It's quite stunning how much goes over the wall right into the Don Valley and ultimately ends up in the river. What concentration of salt would it take to turn the Don River into a salt water body?
Use something else! Put a little bit of elbow grease into things and shovel the snow off the sidewalk. Use sand and give folks a little grit. It'll make your pants dirty but won't eat away at them. You're better off in the long run. Just stop using salt.
And what is that salt stuff that's blue? That's scary stuff!


Anonymous said...

Hi River Rat,

I think you're wrong about the blue stuff. Calcium magnesium acetate is actually better for the environment than salt is. It's more expensive so that's why people don't like to use it.


Anonymous said...

I agree. Salt is terrible, I'd love to see sand or more CaMg used.