CaCl conundrum: Councillors continue to mull future of calcium chloride on city roads
EDMONTON - Edmonton city councillors continued to debate the use of calcium chloride on winter roads amid concerns that the material is unsafe and damages vehicles.
City documents show that the levels of ammonium, phosphorus and metals in last year's calcium chloride were enough to make the substance a hazardous waste under city drainage bylaws.
But Tuesday, the city said those samples were taken from pre-spraying brine which is different from the substance spread on the streets.
But, Ward 9 Coun. Tim Cartmell Tuesday tabled a motion that would end the use of calcium chloride this winter and also restrict the city's salt usage as well.
"I don't see data that says we do it with sand and now we do it with salt and salt is better. I see aggregate data over the whole season but I don't see data that speaks to a specific strategy or specific tools," said Cartmell.
"Stopping the use of salt, in all its forms, as a first step would begin to allow the public to believe that they have been heard."
Earlier this month, a report presented to the city said Edmonton's de-icing strategy – which includes the use of a controversial agent – had made Edmonton’s roads safer.
A lawsuit has already been launched against the city by a man who says calcium chloride damaged his garage pads.
The plaintiff is seeking $50,000 in damages, but the city is standing by lab results showing the chemical doesn’t cause serious damage.
"I think we owe it to Edmontonians to pull our heads out of the minutia on this and actually make a declaration about the values that we want in this program," said Ward 5 Coun. Sarah Hamilton.
With files from Jeremy Thompson