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Project Details

Project dates
01/11/2023  – 01/02/2024
Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Jay Huang

Project Lead

Testing local freshwater streams regularly, and/or after a major weather event (snowstorm), monitoring the water for salt content.

Project Description

Sand helps vehicle tires (and pedestrians) grip the road when it’s slippery. Salt prevents the snow and freezing rain from freezing into ice. Salt is cheap, effective and easy to apply.

It is important to ensure road safety, but many studies have shown that the use of road salt for road de-icing has a big impact on our groundwater and freshwater systems. As the amount of salt content in the water increases, oxygen decreases.

People, animals and plants need oxygen to survive, and when oxygen is depleted, the only organisms that can survive are micro-organisms. This has a big impact on aquatic species and affects water quality, thus the freshwater system’s biodiversity.

To mitigate the negative impacts of road salts on water quality, it’s essential to monitor and manage their use carefully and adopt environmentally friendly de-icing practices when possible. This can help protect both aquatic ecosystems and public health while maintaining the safety of roadways during winter weather.

What was your biggest challenge?

This year we had a very unstable temperature pattern which created many freezing and thawing, thus decreasing the ice stability. It was difficult at times to get water samples. Climate change in action!

What was your most valuable takeaway?

Everything we do will eventually make an impact on nature, and in this case, the ocean and the waterways. It is important to be mindful of everything from drinking a cup of water to driving a car. We should always make the best choice in every day to day action to do what it takes to keep our oceans and waterways the way they are.

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