Winter salt management - what the Region of Waterloo is doing

On the roads

The Region of Waterloo and the seven local municipalities work together to ensure road maintenance is efficient. Responsibility of winter road maintenance depends on the location of the road. Refer to the below links for snow removal information for each municipality.

There's no "one size fits all" response to winter storms. The winter maintenance equipment and materials used depends on weather conditions such as temperature, precipitation type, duration and intensity as well as road conditions and use.  The Region of Waterloo Transportation Operations follows a comprehensive salt management plan. The following methods are some of the ways the Region is managing salt on roads.

  • Road and weather sensors provide operations staff monitoring road conditions with data to determine the appropriate course of action.
  • Snow plow operators receive training on how weather events can affect road surfaces and best management practices for salt.
  • Depending on weather and road conditions, some of the materials used may include:
    • Direct Liquid Application involves spraying an anti-icing liquid on the road prior to a winter storm to prevent ice and frost from forming and sticking to the pavement. Anti-icing uses less salt and increases the effectiveness of plowing early in the storm.
    • Pre-wetted salt is dry road salt with winter liquid applied before it is spread on the road. This helps the salt stick to the road surface and speeds up the effectiveness of the salt to melt the ice and snow on the pavement.
    • Sand may be used on its own or in combination with salt to provide traction. Salt is less effective when temperatures fall below -12 Celsius.
  • Snow plows are equipped with:
    • Electronic spreader controls allow operator to set the rate of salt or sand for the conditions and ensure correct amounts are distributed.
    • Infrared thermometers provide continuous, accurate road and air temperature readings to assist the operator in the effective use of salt
    • Global Positioning System records the location of the snow plow and amount of salt applied. Operations staff can review the information to minimize the application of salt while achieving the required level of service.
    • Blade technology offers better snow plowing capabilities
  • Enclosed storage areas keep salt contained from outside exposure protecting our natural environment
  • Snow fences in strategic locations and establishing new hedgerows help reduce snow drifting on to roads, which generally leads to the need for less salt

At our facilities

Through our water protection programs

  • Working to protect our sources of water since 1994.  Visit Water Services Protection for more information.

  • Monitoring the quality and quantity of our drinking water sources.

  • Using education programs.

  • Developing partnerships to improve local salting practices.

  • Locally supporting the Smart About Saltâ„¢ Council, a not-for-profit organization providing training and education on salt management to non-residential property owners and snow and ice removal contractors.


Curb the Salt. Salt impacts our water. We all have a role to play.