The City of Guelph, along with consulting firm GHD Limited and Melfer Construction, has developed a new snow storage pad to reduce the environmental impacts of salt collected in the city.
Partly built from recycled concrete and asphalt, the pad is 18,600 square metres—about twelve times as big as a hockey rink- and located near a wastewater treatment facility. An empty field was previously used for the past 30 years as each spring snow would melt directly into the sandy soil below and around the field.
“The pad is equipped with a drainage system and low permeability lining to reduce erosion and protect the natural environment,” says Prasoon Adhikari, an environmental engineer with the City. “Now as snow melts on the pad, it’s collected and directed to a stormwater management pond where it’s slowly filtered before making its way into nearby wetlands.”
As part of the project, the city conducted an environmental impact study and planted native plant species known to attract bee and butterfly pollinators, as well as salt-resistant native trees and shrubs, throughout the site.
The city also built a year-round weather station and a commercial net-metered solar panel system that will help reduce the site’s carbon footprint and support its goal to achieve a net-zero carbon future by 2050.
The project was realized through a $3.5 million grant from Infrastructure Canada’s Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.
Photo: Mayor Cam Guthrie, members of City Council and City of Guelph staff cutting a blue ribbon at new snow storage pad.