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7 damaging impacts of winter salt you might not know about

Salting is an unfortunate but necessary reality for Southern Ontario winters. We spread salt on our roads, parking lots and walkways - and we're grateful that it helps to keep us safe from slips, falls and accidents.

But what is the cost to using salt? We know there is a cost to purchase it but what about the other costs we might not think about? Over salting and poor salting practices are negatively impacting our community. A National Post article "The awesome price we pay" outlines some of the costs of using salt. In the article just one of the costs the author writes of is "Dalhousie University estimated that it costs it an extra $15,000 in cleaning and maintenance each year just to repair all the damage salt does to floors and baseboards".

How salt costs our community:

  • Drinking water - When snow melts or when it rains, the salt placed on roads, parking lots and sidewalks to keep us safe, washes into our waterways or travels underground causing salt levels to increase in the drinking water which could make the water taste salty
  • Dog’s paws - salt trapped on your pet's paws can irritate and crack skin
  • Buildings and concrete surfaces - outside structures (bricks/concrete/sidewalks), doorways and flooring may become damaged, increasing repair costs
  • Plants and landscaping - if sprayed with salt, vegetation can lose its hardiness to the cold and be killed by freezing temperatures and high salt levels
  • Footwear and clothing - salt can stain and potentially ruin footwear and clothing
  • Vehicles, bicycles and wheelchairs - salt accelerates rusting, causing damage and increasing repair costs
  • Aquatic life - salt changes water density, which can negatively affect the seasonal mixing of lake waters. This mixing is important to increase oxygen levels required by aquatic life for survival.
Do you have an experience to share about the cost of salt? Share your thoughts here.
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