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Kicking the Salt Addiction

Liquid Anti-Icers: States to Municipalities to Private Sectors

The State of New Jersey has been using anti-icing liquids on the Garden State Parkway and sections of Route 78 for several years. Local municipalities and private sectors are now following suit in an effort to decrease the overall salt usage in the state and improve driving conditions. These liquids reduce overall salt consumption by up to 50% and can be applied prior to storm events, with additional value of saving on overtime and labor costs. Municipalities and private communities are now moving to pre-treating their rock salt piles with these environmentally-friendlier liquids which creates a treated road salt that outperforms ordinary rock salt in every category (bounce/scatter, residual performance, working temperature, quantities and corrosiveness).

The New Jersey DEP is stressing the detrimental effects that salt and sand have on the surrounding environment and infrastructures. 30 – 40% of ordinary road salt bounces off our roadways and contaminates the soil or gets carried into our waterways causing fish populations to decrease. Drinking water supplies can also be contaminated by the infiltration of high levels of sodium. Aside from contaminating surface and groundwater, high levels of sodium chloride kill roadside vegetation and corrode infrastructure such as bridges, roads, and storm water management devices.

The heavier/sticky liquid treated rock salt greatly reduces scatter or bounce when applied, thus allowing more material to effectively stay and dissolve on the impervious surfaces rather than contaminate the soil or waterways.

Alternatives to salt applications are usually first sought out by state DOTs. A committed switch must be made from salt bins to liquid storage tanks, from spreaders to spray bars. This is usually done with ease, since liquid treated road salt can also be used. Next smaller local governments repeat the process as have larger towns and cities. Now the Private Sector is making the switch due to the large overall success throughout the State. If enough counties, municipalities and private sector entities make the effort to switch to agricultural based liquids, eventually the entire State will be off the ‘Salt Addiction’. Right now, Wisconsin uses liquids on over 80% of their roadways and New Jersey is following the trend that states in the West have been practicing for years. In enough time, the entire United States will have a greener, less detrimental way to combat their snow & ice management needs.