If you haven’t heard by now, the use of rock salt has been on the rise. It’s estimated that we currently use over 20 million tons of rock salt a year in the USA as a deicing product. Liquid deicing can help to lower that number.
What does liquid deicing mean? When we talk about liquid deicing for roadways, we are generally talking about liquid salt brine that may contain small amounts of additive to improve its effectiveness. Liquid salt brine is essentially just granular rock salt dissolved in water. You might be wondering, “If the salt is dissolved in water, won’t it be less effective?” A common misconception is that the individual granules of rock salt are what cause deicing to occur. In reality, the rock salt must first turn into salt brine, which will start at a very low salinity level and gain strength as it permeates outward. When using a liquid salt brine, you are starting at its most potent level and covering a parking lot evenly, resulting in a faster deicing process with less salt used.
Here are some examples of why liquid deicing has a lower environmental impact than just granular rock salt:
- Salt brine uses about ¼ of the salt to deice a parking lot compared to granular rock salt.
- Granular rock salt is more susceptible to being pushed off of the surface and into drains or green spaces.
- Salt brine can be applied more accurately, which lowers the chance of chlorides being spread to surfaces that don’t require deicing.
- Many liquid additives used with salt brine contain a corrosion inhibitor that helps protect infrastructure from deterioration.
One teaspoon of salt will permanently pollute five gallons of water. Water pollution from salt to lakes, streams, and drinking water wells has increased significantly in recent years. Many lakes are permanently polluted and some are no longer able to support fish and other aquatic life. The only way to preserve these resources is to cut back on salt usage and finding better ways to apply and manage the use of chlorides. Liquid deicing is a step towards a cleaner environment.
If you want to learn more about liquid deicing please reach out to VSI using the contact information below!