Ground Water Canada

COVID-19 Updates News Contamination Environment Water Issues
Businesses in Waterloo, Ont., asked to consider closing unused parking areas to protect drinking water


November 2, 2020
By Ground Water Canada

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Waterloo Region, Ont. – The Region of Waterloo is asking businesses to consider closing excess parking areas this winter to reduce the amount of chloride in our drinking water due to winter salt use. During the pandemic, many staff are working at home and businesses may not require as much space for parking. Closing these areas can help the business reduce their winter maintenance costs and the amount of salt and ice melter spread on the ground.

Salt and ice melting products are one of the biggest concerns to water quality in Waterloo Region, where groundwater is the source of most of the community’s drinking water. When salt and ice melter is put on the ground, it ends up in the drinking water, the Region said in a news release. Currently water and wastewater treatment does not remove salt.

To reduce the impacts of salt to drinking water, businesses are encouraged to use best practices as part of their winter maintenance routine. This can include closing areas that do not impede emergency exits, accessibility ramps or entrances.

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“We see an opportunity to create a positive result for our community’s drinking water during the pandemic,” said Eric Hodgins, manager of hydrogeology and source water for the Region of Waterloo. “With fewer people driving to some workplaces, we have an opportunity to reduce the amount of paved parking surfaces we’re treating with salt and chloride products this winter.”