Road salt usage down across Muskoka: Misko

21 May 2024 7:02 PM | Smart About Salt (Administrator)

Road salt usage down across Muskoka: Misko - Huntsville Doppler (

A number of factors appear to have come together to reduce the amount of salt used on local roads throughout the winter months.

This week, Mark Misko, the District of Muskoka Director of Engineering and Transportation, put together a report on annual road salt usage that shows positive trends.

Misko indicated tonnages of road salt have trended downward over the past few years. He attributes the decline to significant operational changes and implementing incremental opportunities for improvement

“Work will continue to refine processes, procedures and investigating new technology as it becomes available in the market,” says Misko in his report.

Misko says District staff continue to work with the area municipalities to determine what additional methods and controls can be implemented.

“For example, Bracebridge has included directliquid application (DLA) as one of their treatment methods to reduce ice accumulation,” says Misko. “Gravenhurst, through a combined procurement effort, has included pre-treated salt within their sand stockpiles to assist in surface adhesion when applied.”

Miskoka says road sale salt usage fluctuates based on winter storm severity,  but implementing industry best practices has helped to reduce the amount of salt used on the road network.

In October of 2020 the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed (FOTW) published The Road Salt Threat to Muskoka Lakes, which revealed a correlation between chloride levels in some of Muskoka Lakes and their relative location with respect to major highways.

FOTW launched a testing program last year to look into the effects of road salt on local lakes. The group said once the data is gathered to determine how chloride enters the lakes, the next step is to find solutions and modifications which can involve the whole community.

In his report Misko maintains that rock salt continues to be an effective de-icer and is the most widely used product in North America due to its fast melting action and its ready availability in the area. Road salt is generally very effective from 0ºC to approximately -10ºC, he says. Its effectiveness is enhanced by frictional forces as well as surface temperatures. Alternatives to rock salt have been considered, however, all available options have their own unique pros and cons.

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