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Salt Management in Alberta Highway Maintenance Yards


Alberta has recently revised the standards to which highway maintenance yards are managed, particularly with respect to salt and other ice control chemicals. The intent is to bring the management of the yards in closer accord with the requirements of Alberta Environment and Environment Canada. The new standard calls for the provision of covered storage for salt and freeze proofed sand. It also calls for the management of runoff water that is likely to have come in contact with chlorides. Highway maintenance contractors are responsible for coming up with an environmental management plan that addresses the environmental management of salt, other ice control chemicals and other highway maintenance materials. An engineering consultant assists with the design and development of the yards as well as the development of an Environmental Management Plan which must be submitted and approved by Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation. In addition, the yards are subjected to yearly monitoring by an engineering consultant, the maintenance contractor and the Department to ensure that the salt and other maintenance materials are being managed in a manner that decreases the environmental impact from the yard. In the most recent round of contracts which were tendered in 2005, highway maintenance contractors were required to include the new environmental provisions into their bids. Therefore, they will be working to develop yards (existing and new) so that they meet the requirements by fall, 2006. The primary method of control is the provision of covered sand and salt storage, which requires large structures of a number of types, ranging from fabric to steel wall structures. Each site is assigned a priority for environmental management, with the most stringent priority requiring that sand be mixed and stacked under cover, for salt deliveries to be made under cover and for a number of other measures to manage chlorides and reasonably ensure they remain on-site. There is also a requirement to control runoff from areas that may reasonably be expected to have salt impact of runoff water. Other methods of control include ponds to capture the runoff as well as the disposal of salt impacted water using approved methods at approved locations. Working in partnership with Alberta Infrastructure and Infrastructure, the standards and guidelines are being developed to achieve a very high level of control of potential environmentally detrimental materials, and to meet the requirements for mitigating impacts as identified in the legislation and codes of practice.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Environmental issues, Environmental legislation