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Municipalities / state DOT spraying preventive Ice Melt 'brine'...Worth it or Not ???

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by marcos, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. marcos

    marcos Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    I'd like to hear from others around the country in the snow belt........ :blush2:
    How do people generally feel about the effectiveness of the preventive ice melt brines sprayed by local municipalities, as well as specific State highway departments before snow and ice events in different regions ?

    Do you generally feel that you're getting your tax dollar's worth when you see the results of this ? ? ?

    Or do you think that this is generally one of those " Create a need and then fill it " things that government bureaucracies like to invent to " keep their people busy " between snowfalls ? ? ?
  2. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,249

    Are you referring to liquid anti-icing or pre-treating the salt?

    Either way, it's been proven effective and economical as long as it is used correctly.

    PS Anybody that has ever spread de-icer has used brine to melt snow and\or ice.
  3. marcos

    marcos Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    I'm talking about the municipality and DOT trucks spaying ice-melt brine on the roads and highways DIRECTLY with spray booms....leaving the " stripes " in the driving lanes before (predicted) precipitation.

    Is it worth YOUR tax dollars invested or not ???
  4. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,249

    Yes, as long as it is coupled with proper procedures after the application. Without a doubt.
  5. NW Montana

    NW Montana Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    I think it causes problems at times, it makes for a slick slushy mess after it snows. i wold also like them to pay for the rust on my vehicles. Never used to be a problem here until they started using it.
  6. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,249

    Did they just start using chemical de-icers? Did they only use sand or grit before? What chemical are they using?
  7. NW Montana

    NW Montana Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Started using chem deicers in the past couple of years. I think they are using mag chloride but I am not 100% on that. It tends to get overused. It does cut down on ice buildup at stop signs but outside of that it is not real beneficial. I had a pair of steel snow/tires wheels that I used on my explorer in Oregon for several years, the first winter in Montana they started to rust as did they center caps on my other vehicles.

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,230

    Here in McHenry our Mayor has decided to cut back on some snow operations this winter.

    They have also started to use a sugar beet juice mix on the roads.

    So far this year has been the worse I have seen the roads around here in 20 years I have lived in my house.

    She implemented a 2" trigger.

    By the time it is reached the roads are packed now.
    Each snow event has left the roads with a bumpy ice coating for the entire day of and after the storm passes.

    I do not know if it is the beet juice alone that is not doing the job or her genius idea waiting for 2" to have the trucks go out but it is not doing the job here no natter how much money it is saving.
  9. marcos

    marcos Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    It seems around here in the Cincy / Dayton area, where were no doubt on the south edge of the snow belt, the road brine seems to be useless about 50% of the time...

    Often it'll rain before changing to snow.....or start with slushy snow that wouldn't have stuck anyway, assuming the pavement was warmer, which happens a lot.
    In these instances the brine just washes into the sewers and creates an environmental hazard before anything sticks to the road much.

    NW Montana, I doubt they'd be using 100% mag chloride there- That would not be cost-efficient for massive applications.
    Plus, by itself, magnesium shouldn't cause the corrosion you described.

    It's got to be some sort of liquid sodium / magnesium blend with a little tackifier.
  10. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    They only use it on state controlled roads around here. Like main routes such as RT 1, RT110, RT113. Mass Highway puts it down on these roads and the highways. None of the town roads get it. I really don't notice a difference in the roads. I do notice that I never really see the towns or cities using sand anymore though. Maybe I'm just mistaken though.
  11. dlcs

    dlcs 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,160

    IDOT sprays the major interstates in Illinois with brine at least 24 hrs before the storm and i don't see a real difference. Most of the brine is gone before the storm actually starts. IDOT also sprays the bridges on major highways with brine too. Hard to say if its worth it or not but what pisses me off is that it takes two workers to do the job. They always have to guys in the truck to spray. IMO this is the biggest waste of tax dollars.
  12. SnowMatt13

    SnowMatt13 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,559

    Reaper....I lived in McHenry for a few years and I never thought the roads were the greatest then either. If we got 6+ hope you could get out of your side street.....
    My village, which I am the supervisor, uses salt brine for anti-icing (pre) and pre-wetting. We have found it to be a great tool for snow. People need to understand it is not the savior for snow and ice removal. But it helps prevent the initial bond when it starts snowing. Therefore when done correctly, you can use less salt throughout the storm and during clean-up. And using it for prewetting......go spread dry salt on black ice or just icy roads.....without lots of traffic, not very good results. Add brine.....we go home early...
    By producing our own brine after the initial cost of set-up it is about 6 cents per gallon to produce. Beet juice is good....but needs to be accompanied with something. We try and stay away from the chlorides......
    A 2" policy is great if the snow falls overnight and stops at 3 am. But like you said add traffic and a daytime snow......ice, snow pack, etc. Then you can only guess how much salt, hours, etc is costs to remove it then.......
  13. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,249

    As I stated, when used properly, yes they work and they save money.

    Applying them and then waiting 'til 2" accumulates is not using them properly, they will dilute and then the bond will be formed between snow and pavement.

    Liquids are pretty much worthless when there is rain or freezing rain in the forecast. We don't even bother if that's the case. Even with high moisture content snow we don't use them much.

    Liquid ant-icing is not there to melt the first inch or two of snow. It is applied to prevent the bond between snow and pavement resulting in easier removal via mechanical means (plowing) and less salt usage at the end of the storm because there is little or minimal hardpack.

    So don't blame the liquids, they do the same thing everytime they're applied. Blame the applicator or applicator's boss for not knowing how to use the tool properly.

    As for straight salt brine vs foo foo dust enhanced liquids, once the water that is in it is evaporated, you are left with salt dust, just like after bulk salt is applied and the roads dry out. And yes, vehicle traffic will make it become airborne. Foo foo dust enhanced liquids also use water as a carrier, BUT, when the water evaporates, the foo foo dust solids remain on the road and when it starts snowing again, they are reactivated. We have had results with this 2 weeks after an application.
  14. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,246

  15. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,249

  16. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883


    Environmental impact

    A major concern in using chemicals for winter road maintenance is environmental impact. Studies show that soils, vegetation, water, highway facilities, and vehicles are all affected, so it is very important to use chemicals wisely. Most soil and vegetation damage occurs within 60 feet of the road and is greatest close to the pavement.

    De-icing chemicals are highly soluble and follow any water flow. Salt concentrations in Wisconsin's surface and ground water have increased since the early 1960's, the [Wisconsin] Department of Natural Resources [WDNR] reports, but aquatic life has not yet been affected that we know of. In drinking water sources, which the WDNR also monitors, salt concentrations are within recognized safe limits. In some reported cases, groundwater carrying de-icing chemicals has contaminated wells, but most of these apparently were caused by seepage from poor storage facilities.

    De-icing chemicals can accelerate deterioration in concrete and steel structures. New construction methods are reducing this impact, but highways and bridges do suffer from chemical damage. Vehicle corrosion is also accelerated. Corrosion on vehicles and structures is estimated to be the largest cost impact of chloride based chemicals. Even relatively small amounts of chloride will significantly accelerate existing corrosion.
  17. WingPlow

    WingPlow Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    salt and salt brine arent chemicals are they ??

    isnt salt a natural mineral
  18. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,249

    So's carbon dioxide and that's supposedly causing global warming. How about water, too much of that is a problem as well.

    Carbon monoxide is a chemical too. So's cyanide. Everything is a chemical. When used in high concentrations it causes problems.

    It's all semantics.
  19. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    salt= Sodium chloride a chemical.
  20. SnowMatt13

    SnowMatt13 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,559

    Right on with your above statements Mark.
    It's a tool and when used properly AIDS in snow and ice control.