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Brine Overview

The brine sticks immediately to the road. It forms a barrier on the pavement preventing or
reducing the formation of ice. That increases melting efficiency and reduces the amount of salt needed to clear our roads.

The benefits of liquid applications for ice control are well documented and include
reductions in salt usage, faster response times, improved environmental impacts, and savings in time, labor and fuel.

Optimal achievement of those benefits is both an art and a science. The chemical properties of liquid deicing materials and their performance is a proven science, but deciding how and when to use them effectively requires knowledge that only experience provides… the ‘art.’ Liquid equipment technologies represent the state of the ‘science’ in ice control and are beginning to trend heavily with innovative service providers seeking to achieve a competitive edge in today’s market.

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The mixture, also called liquid salt, simply combines rock salt with water, making a mixture that is 23.3% salt. The liquid can be applied to roads before a storm. It settles into crevices on roadways, creating a layer that prevents ice and snow from creating a bond with the pavement.

More Effective

Research has shown that timely applications of anti-icing materials can cut the cost of maintaining a safe surface by 90 percent compared to traditional deicing. Liquid sodium chloride (salt brine) is the most effective choice for anti-icing above 20°F.

As the country drudges through the winter, transportation departments are implementing new strategies to keep roadways safe.
Salt has always been applied to roadways since it lowers the freezing point of any water it comes into contact with. Traditionally, this was accomplished by applying solid rock salt before and after snowfall to reduce ice and snow. However, this strategy is only effective when temperatures are above 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using salt brines BEFORE anticipated snowfall was discovered to be more effective than using solid rock salt. Brines have the same melting characteristics of solid rock salt, but since it is applied in liquid form, the salt can begin to work immediately. The brines are also more effective in lower temperatures.

These actions would be considered de-icing, which is removing snow and ice AFTER the weather event has occurred but these actions have limitations. It is time to join the growing transition from Reactive Strategies to PROACTIVE Strategies.

Combined with accurate weather forecasts, anti-icing is a more proactive technique for winter transportation safety. “Brine provides improved road surface conditions and allows for safer travel,” the study concluded.

Cost Effective

Using salt brines proves not only to be more effective on roads, but it is also cost effective.

It takes four times less salt to prevent ice accumulation than to remove ice after it has formed.

“Anti-icing is currently recognized as a pro-active approach to winter driver safety by most transportation agencies. Pre-wetting [using salt brines] has been shown to increase both the performance of solid chemicals and abrasives, as well as their longevity on the roadway surface, thereby reducing the amount of materials required," one study said.

Money is also saved by using less salt and applying it during regular working hour and in most conditions as early as 3 days ahead - not during overtime shifts when labor costs amplify.

Many small companies in the Midwest do not have the resources or the space to store even a minimal amount of 100 tons of Salt that you can easily go through during a small ice/snow storm.

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Environmentally Friendly

Salt can be harmful to the environment. Most immediately, it’s a hazard for birds, that will die if they ingest too much of it, and to other wildlife. As the salt dissolves into melt-water, and breaks down into sodium and chloride ions, it causes other problems. In high concentrations, the chloride can sometimes kill trees and shrubs near the roadways and sidewalks. It can also end up deep in the ground, sometimes ruining the taste of well water. But its largest effects are not ones you can immediately see or taste. When the salt reaches our lakes and rivers, it changes the water chemistry.

The concentration of chloride ions in waterways has gone up steadily over the past seven decades in northern states where generally more snow occurs and more rock salt is used. Scientists now regularly find readings between three and ten times what they were in the early twentieth century. Amounts much higher than that, by a factor of 100 or 1,000, have been found in small ponds and streams downstream from large highways and parking lots. At these higher levels, chloride can kill aquatic insects and even fish.

As a result, many state transportation agencies have been making the switch to a salt brine solution.