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High sodium rates in Muskoka sparks concern over lake health


Friends of the Muskoka Watershed and the Gull & Silver Lakes Residents Association (GSLRA) teamed up to determine how road salt affects nearby lakes in the Muskoka area.

The GSLRA in Gravenhurst took water samples throughout the week in areas where it thinks there could be high levels of chloride.

The vice president of the association, Brian Ochab, said their main focus is on lake health and safety.

"We're starting to see rising rates of salt in the lakes, and that affects all of lake biology, how people can enjoy the lakes, and it affects overall lake health," he said.

Officials say sodium rates are much higher in the Muskoka area.

"Dr. Norman Yan has been doing research for decades and has shown now that in Muskoka, where we have soft water, we have a far higher sensitivity for these organisms to the salt," said Joanne Smith, environmental chair of the association.

"Our value here on Gull Lake is approximately 17.9, so we are above the damage level."

Friends of the Muskoka Watershed said road salt is a significant problem, and it's concerned over the amount used.

"People are using a little too much salt on their driveway, in their backyard, in their storefront. If there is salt left over, sweep it up and use it again. All salt goes into the water. Nothing stops it," said Sandy Lockhart with Friends of the Muskoka Watershed.

Although this is a pilot project, Friends of the Muskoka Watershed plans to roll out a more extensive program this fall.

A public education campaign will also be held at that time. Top Stories

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