salt good for wetlands too
Itís a classic catch-22.
Salt is the best ingredient when it comes to preventing
accidents on slippery winter roads. But, itís a dangerous
ingredient to stir into our ditches, streams and rivers
- where, due to runoff and snow collection and dumping,
it eventually ends up.
Good news is coming forward on the salt front, however.
Though there remains no safe alternative, Environment
Canada is giving municipalities advice on how to reduce
the use of road salt. Recently, it released a draft "code
of practice" for municipalities to peruse.
Locally, the impact of salt on wetlands will be dramatically
reduced in the near future as the city and conservation
authority begin construction of a new stormwater pond
to prevent leaching of salt from the cityís snow dump
directly into the Bay of Quinte.
Thanks to donations from the Ontario Great Lakes Renewal
Foundation and Ducks Unlimited of Canada, the city will
move ahead to build the stormwater pond at the base of
Farley Avenue south of Dundas Street East. Decades ago,
the wetland was filled in and used as a city snow dump
site from which chloride from road salt entered the bay,
threatening plant, animal and aquatic life.
Making matters worse, that site is also the end of the
road for three large stormwater sewers that collect groundwater
east of Farley Avenue. That groundwater contains all the
grime from our city streets.
This new stormwater pond will act as a giant filter,
collecting salt, sediment, oil, grease and whatever pollution
previously flowed directly into the bay. Instead, the
sediment will sink to the bottom of the pond and impurities
will be removed.
In effect, the pond naturally treats the groundwater
before it enters a watercourse frequented annually by
migrating waterfowl, explains Ducks Unlimited biologist
Remediating and reclaiming our wetlands is one of the
biggest challenges facing Belleville and the greater Quinte
area over the next decade. Itís taken six years for the
Belleville Marsh project - which is adjacent to Bakelite
- to take flight. A clear and consistent approach coupled
with determination to clean up our city, will make for
a better future for us all.