It felt like the trio of Westwood Collegiate students had shown up at City Hall a dozen times.
11th grade students Jasper Bain, Angela Gamayao, and Megan Morant came to the Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works Committee to advocate mixing salt with hemp gourd.
The city is looking for ways to reduce the use of road salt as a means of traction on slippery winter roads.
Inspired by a competition – Caring for our Watersheds – sponsored by agribusiness Nutrien and managed by Ducks Unlimited in Oak Hammock Marsh, the trio started the project as part of their chemistry class.
With the help of their teacher, they started experimenting by mixing salt with locally grown hemp.
“Hemp bowl is actually made from the stem of the hemp plant. So the stem isn’t being used for a lot of different things right now – the streets could be a really good place to use it, “Bain said.
Hemp Hurd, mixed with much less salt than currently used on Winnipeg roads, could reduce damage to trees, plants and in the waterways, the students say. (Trevor-Sole / CBC)
Students found that a third of the salt mixed with hemp squash melted almost as much ice as salt alone.
The approximately 26,000 tons of salt that the city of Winnipeg uses to de-ice its roads not only erodes concrete, bridges, vehicles and other infrastructure, but also has a lasting impact on the environment. It penetrates the soil and water and damages plants and trees.
“At the end of the winter season you see all these white spots on the streets and you never really knew where they came from, but that was a result of dried-up salt residue on our roads and it really makes me think about how much we really use and which Fact that it is everywhere, “said Gamayao.
The three students’ project was in the top 10 of 365 written proposals and ranked second among those finalists, winning $ 900 for himself and his school.
In the next phase, they can use a portion of the US $ 10,000 provided by Nutrien to find outside partners and further test their idea.
One eye was always on the price of slamming the city.
“We worked really hard together for this project and our ultimate goal was to get the city noticed. I know I talked this morning in our project about how we’re going to start this pilot, but we hope we to make it.” in our school department and even in our city, “said Morant.
The presentation of the three students in the town hall was well received by the Chair of Public Works, Coun. Matt Allard. (CBC)
The trio received praise from Committee Chairman Coun. Matt Allard (St. Boniface) who received their request for presentation at City Hall and put it on the agenda to hear from you first.
“They reached out to my office last week and we sent their study and methodology to the Public Works Department for review. I am also very interested and have a great feeling about the results of your pilot project at Westwood Collegiate next winter. ” Optimism and inspiration for the future to hear them speak, “Allard said in an email to CBC.
The trio will put their effort into a trial period in Grade 12 by spreading a mixture of salt and hemp around the school parking lot and sidewalks and taking watershed samples for analysis.
The three students praise the help they received from chemistry teacher Dave Shoesmith, along with guidance from Amanda Benson at Ducks Unlimited in getting this far.
They say that the many hours of work have strengthened the already good friendships and are looking forward to the next phase of work.
The committee heard from the three students not only about alternatives to road salt.
Diana Nicholson of Cypher Environmental told councilors that her company has an anti-icing product – a salt derivative that looks and acts like salt, but is non-toxic and non-corrosive and environmentally friendly.