With sustainability as one of their core values, Ledcor is well aware of the associated risks when using salt and sand in their winter operations. That is why their Highway Maintenance team is working hard to reduce salt contamination and prevent the chronic increase of salt concentration, a known risk posed by highway maintenance operations across both Alberta and Canada as a whole.
Highway maintenance yards that store salt and sand mix pose environmental risks such as salt spillage and salt tracking on their sites, which can impact surrounding vegetation and groundwater. Ledcor is taking a proactive approach to their maintenance yard upgrades to mitigate these issues and prevent further risks to the environment.
Through consultation with adjacent property owners, external engineering consultants, Ledcor subject matter experts, and Alberta Environmental and Parks, Ledcor has updated their Environmental Management Plan to implement preventative measures such as:
- Changing traffic flow to isolate contaminated areas.
- Updating salt loading and handling procedure.
- Keeping contaminated snow within the yard in storage tanks or containment ponds.
Thus far, Ledcor has upgraded 2 of their 11 yards to lessen the negative impact by:
- Paving areas at risk of contamination to make the ground impermeable to salt.
- Installing drainage by:
- Grading the ground with an inward slope to keep contaminated water within the yard.
- Diverting clean water.
- Capturing contaminated water with a catch basin and sump system with above ground storage tanks.
- Recirculating contaminated water to reduce off-site disposal requirements and to produce salt brine in house as opposed to purchasing.
The benefits of these upgrades are industry-wide, resulting in a long-term, positive impact on our communities and environment.
Ledcor is continuously monitoring the upgraded yards to track salt concentration data and plans to upgrade the remaining 9 yards.