Are you ready for the SNOW with the Rock Star – Liquid Ice Melt?

Liquid ice melt-is a rock star for your snow and ice melting strategy

What if I told you of a way to create a safer environment, reduce plant and structure damage and speed up results while at the same time saving money?  I would like to introduce to you …  liquid ice melt! This phenomenon that is sweeping the snow removal industry one storm at a time.

There are basically three ways to incorporate liquid products into your snow fighting arsenal:

1) an anti-icing application prior to the storm

2) a de-icing application during or after the storm

3) a pre-wet application where the liquid is sprayed directly to traditional rock salt either in the salt pile or while the salt is being spread.

How does it work?  The asphalt and concrete surfaces we are treating are not at all smooth.  They closer resemble the surface of a Thomas English muffin-lots of nooks and crannies.    Pre- treating with an anti-icing application coats the surface and prevents the snow and ice from bonding.   A good comparison would be when we put butter in the pan before we fry an egg for breakfast.    The butter coats the surface preventing the egg from sticking.  OK, I’m getting hungry, time to move on.

Let’s compare traditional rock salt and and see where liquid ice melt shines:

Damage.  Liquid stays where you spray it.  Solid has what’s called “bounce”.  The rock salt can land on unintended areas such as turf, landscape beds, walks or on buildings creating salt damage.  Traffic can also displace the granules pushing them out of the travel lanes.

Speed.  Liquid starts to work immediately-no wait time.  Solid takes time and does not begin to melt snow and ice until it dilutes and liquefies.

Safer.  Liquid blends can work down to below zero.  Solid does not melt ice below 15 degrees.

Cost.  Liquids can be applied up to 48 hours prior to an event as long as there is no rain in the forecast.  This reduces overtime costs for the crew.  Also liquids are overall cheaper to purchase than rock salt.

Environment.  If you would like to read a few studies on the damage sodium chloride is doing to our environment and aquifers here are two good ones: {Minnesota},  {DEP}.  Generally speaking a liquid application will put down 65% less salt than a similar rock salt application.  Products available are a straight brine (diluted rock salt) or a combination of brine blended with liquid magnesium or calcium chloride.   A popular strategy lately is to add an organic product such as beet juice or molasases to the mix, which lowers the melting point while at the same time reducing the amount of chloride applied.

To be sure straight rock salt does have some advantages such as it’s easier to purchase and store, is better treating thick ice and the granules provide an anti-skid benefit when applied.    We will not phase out solid applications any time soon but we’re ready to advance the liquid movement-will you join us?    

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