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Constructed wetland at Berry Mills snow dump site, June 2018. (Image: City of Moncton)

Optimism with project keeping road salt out of waterways

By Tara Clow Mar 14, 2024 | 1:14 PM

A project created to help keep road salts and other contaminants out of our waterways is producing positive results.

Ducks Unlimited Canada created a small wetland between the Berry Mills snow dump and the waterway.

“We’re working with the city of Moncton on building some wetlands in the municipality. They had cleared this large area when they were collecting the snow and the city worked with us to figure out whether or not we could create a wetland below the snow melt area, to see if we could intercept it before it went to the adjacent brook,” Atlantic Operations Manager Adam Campbell stated.

(Image: submitted by Ducks Unlimited Canada)

When plows pick up the snow, they also pick up things like topsoil, sediments, and salt used to melt ice.

“Salt can be pretty harmful if concentrated and runs off into the watercourse quickly. It can have some pretty negative impacts on plants and fish. The environment is definitely healthier when we have a lot of wetlands in place,” Campbell says.

He adds as the water flows through the wetland, the vegetation helps knock any precipitated sediment out of the water column.  Plants are also really good at absorbing nutrients as they become available.

Ducks Unlimited Canada has been monitoring the wetlands since around 2014 and they’re seeing reductions in chloride levels anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent.

“It’s quite remarkable and probably exceeds our expectations.”

Campbell adds they are also now seeing a whole bunch of other wildlife in that area including geese, ducks, swallows, and other songbirds.

“We’re pleased with the results we’ve seen so far. Wetlands and green infrastructure can go a long way toward filtering a lot of the pollutants that get scooped up during snow removal operations. We look forward to applying these and other solutions in the future to help protect the quality of our waterbodies,” said Tim Moerman, Director of Environmental Planning and Management at the City of Moncton.