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Solar salt VS. Rock salt

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Sno4U, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    I usually buy the cheapest rock salt (bagged) available. Solar salt is going to be coming up on sale and was told by the warehouse mngr that he much prefers the solar salt as it leaves residue behind (ya, I know not what I'd call the most professional source of info) and he didn't like the regular rock b/c it does NOT leave a residue. Also, he says once you get alittle bit of sun the solar works quite well.
    I'm thinking "bull&^%$". I've used rock for years and if anything I don't like solar b/c its so fine ya end up using 50% more to get the same effect.
    Am I mistaken or is this guy just trying to sell more of the expensive salt??
  2. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Salt is salt. Either will work fine.
    Not sure about the residue thing.
  3. i use the agway crystalized solar salt...i find the granule size larger and remains on the applied surface when windy...as a result of the granule size it also weighs a bit more than some rock salt i've used ...allowing the product to sink thru at least .5" snow...and it crushes up into more useful product once driven over.
    i pre-treat with it as well.....when the price is right i mix it with rock salt to help with ground surface temperature changes during a storm.
  4. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    solar salt versus rock salt

    As a former salt miner I would like to address this topic.

    Both solar salt and rock salt will have residue;
    in the case of solar salt if the crawler harvester digs too deeply it will pick up a bit of the clay on the bottom of the final concentrating pond and it may or may not be removed by the solar salt plant operator, but in the case of soalr salt used for human consumptipon you will not see and debris or clay in it. Please read the explantion I describe below for a solar salt pan works.

    Solar salt is a purer form of salt as all the impurites have settled out of the salt brine solution and lay on the bottom of a "salt pan", this is the area where the salt brine collects and it is evaporated by the wind and sunlight.

    When you buy soalr salt the fines and dust have already been removed by washing it in a salt water brine.

    Solar salt is created over a four to five year period.

    The first year the sea water is pumped in to the primary ponds where many millions of gallons of sea water are collected into large basins with clay /mud bottoms and dirt walls and are used as retention ponds.

    The dirt algae and microscopic animals in the sea water die and settle out over time during the first year. and often algae blooms occur which is why the ponds appear pink from the air or an elevation above the tidal ponds.

    The second year the sea water is pumped to another set of collection basins to concentrate the salt water and develope a heavier brine.

    The same thing happens the third year and more brine is collected and naturally evaporated by sun and wind.

    Depending on the weather the past few years-meaning if there was a huge amount of rainfall to dilute the salt water it would need to stay in the concentrating ponds for a longer time to increase its saline content.

    In the forth or fifth year the salt layer is of a sufficient thickness depth in the final concentrating pond to allow harvesting with salt harvesting machinery.

    The solar salt crop is harvested and hauled to the processing facility. The salt is washed with a salt water wash to remove and loose dirt or clay. The solar salt is dried in rotary kiln or allowed to dry in huge salt piles depending upon the salt pans location in the world as it will dry quickly in a hot climate with fewer movements between concentrating ponds.

    After this is done the solar salt is screened, crushed and packaged for the end user and it could end up as a salt lick or on your dinner table or as solar salt for water softeners or a local road deicing the highway.

    The solar salt product is recommended for water softeners as it does not clog up the resin beds as evaporated salt buttons or salt blocks due as it is crystal clear salt with no impurities. thay is why you are able to see through a piece of solar salt or if you are lucky to find a pice of rock salt which is clear crystal salt- this occurs typically at the roof line of a rock salt seam as the salt at the roof line of the salt seam is the salt that absorbed the sunlight and became clearer due to the heat and sun light prior to its being covered with mud which turned to shale.

    The northern salt mines are all seam mines where the rock salt exists in a shallow of thick seam of salt- I will explain this further.
  5. thanks leon.............what about the freezing/melting specs...solar vs rock?
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2009
  6. riverwalkland

    riverwalkland Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    that's neat, always wondered how they make the salt
  7. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    solar salt

    It is a bit more efficient due to its purity, but the weather you spread it in is the key player as and untreated salt does not work very well below freezing anyway which i am sure you know.

    I apologise for my typo's