Canada's Road Salt Code of Practice
The environmental impacts of road salt have been studied extensively and intensively since the mid-20th century. In 1992, the Transportation Research Board of the (US) National Academy of Sciences did an exhaustive report, Special Report 235, which concluded that, even knowing the significant environmental and infrastructure costs of using sodium chloride on roadways, salt would remain the deicer of choice because its benefits dwarfed the costs.
Not content with this TRB finding, Environment Canada, in 1995, began its own environmental assessment and salt management guidelines, the Road Salts Code of Practice. The Salt Institute was involved throughout the process, both in the assessment and the design of the salt management guidelines. The Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) played a major role in crafting the Code which is the latest comprehensive guideline on winter maintenance and salt management practices. The Code draws extensively on the Salt Institute Sensible Salting Program and on TAC’s Synthesis of Best Practices which the Institute helped develop. The Code is the basis for a nationwide initiative to upgrade salt practices and the response of Canadian provincial and local transportation agencies marks the ongoing success of the program.
Key elements of Environment Canada’s salt management initiative are its promotion of salt management planning and encouragement of operator training.