Troubled waters: Road salt increasing in Ottawa waterways, new study shows

By Samantha Pope, Capital Current, April 1, 2020

Since the 1950s, Canada has used road salt as a cheap and effective way to break up ice and keep citizens safe during the winter. More than seven million tonnes of road salt are spread each winter, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Some waterways in Southern Ontario have now eight times the recommended level of salt, surpassing more than 1,000 milligrams of salt per litre, the WWF found in a 2019 report.

Now the Ottawa Riverkeeper is raising the alarm about the impact of road salt on waterways in the National Capital Region.

Startling new findings from a pilot testing by the non-profit organization found waterways with more than 800 milligrams of salt per litre – seven times the healthy level. One creek showed sky-high readings of 3,500 milligrams per litre in mid-February, according to data released March 16.

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