Hot Topics - Salt and Anti-Icing

Keeping the surfaces we travel on safe is one of our biggest responsibilities. In the winter months, it takes even more care and caution. We do our best to make sure our methods are efficient and cost effective, while reducing impacts to the environment. Here is some information about our efforts as well as tips for you to implement at home. 

​What is anti-icing?

Anti-icing is a winter maintenance method which assists in preventing the bond of snow to the pavement or street surfaces. The product is a liquid solution, or "salt brine" which is made up of water that has been mixed with rock salt or sodium chloride to a 23% salt concentration. The liquid is effective to a pavement temperature of 15 degrees. The solution can also be blended with other products to improve its performance to temperatures lower than 15 degrees and improve its adherence to the road surface. 

​How is it applied?

The best possible time to apply the salt brine solution is prior to a winter snow event and in limited applications prior to freezing rain. 

​Advantages of the salt brine

  • Prevents the bond of snow to the pavement surface
  • Assists in returning street surface to bare pavement
  • Applying salt brine jump starts the melting process
  • The brine material sticks to the pavement surface and is not lost like dry salt pellets
  • Increases efficiency which results in the use of less dry salt material being applied and also reduces the budgetary impacts, along with impacts to the watersheds and environment. 

Home De-Icing Tips and Tricks

  • Most de-icing salt products are only effective when the temperature is over 15 degrees 
  • De-icing salt is corrosive and damages some surfaces such as concrete, and can be harmful to plants
  • Keep all salt and de-icing chemicals stored safely out of reach from children and pets
  • Sand and kitty litter does help with traction, however it leaves a mess to clean up and clogs storms sewers
  • A 12 oz. mug of de-icing salt can cover 250 square feet!

Environmental Impacts

Salt pollutes. Road salt contains chloride, a water pollutant. When snow and ice melt, the sand goes with it, washing into our lakes, streams, wetlands, and groundwater. It takes only one teaspoon of road salt to permanently pollute five gallons of water. Once in the water, there is no way to remove the chloride, and at high concentrations, chloride can harm fish and plant life. Less is more when it comes to applying road salt. 

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