The advantage of liquid deicers is gaining popularity in the snow and ice management industry. Being more proactive against ice and being better for the environment is giving brine its “liquid gold” status. Simply stated, it is a salt water mixture with a specific salinity that can be used as a pretreatment for ice management.
At JC Grounds Management, we are all about proactive measures wherever possible. It is safer to prevent ice from forming, then fighting with the ice throughout a storm. When used as a pretreatment, brine will prevent ice and snow from bonding with pavement. Anti-icing makes it possible to create safer conditions. MassDOT Highway Division explains why they choose to use liquid deicers: “Before a storm, we anti-ice the roads by applying a liquid solution to them. This solution prevents snow and ice from binding to the pavement and lowers the temperature that water freezes. The reason we apply a liquid and not solid salt is that the dry salt is blown away or bounces off the roads when applied before precipitation moistens them” (Road Treatment Types 2018).
Traditional rock salt is only effective above 15°F, whereas some liquid deicers won’t freeze until about -6°F or lower. Brine can also be mixed with chemicals like liquid calcium to increase effectiveness at lower temperatures while still delivering many of the same benefits. Brine can also be combined with organics. “Organics might include by-products from cheese whey and sugar beet or similar ingredients. The purpose of organics is to increase the longevity of the brine on the pavement surface. Evidence has been presented that organics may reduce corrosion of vehicles and infrastructure. Usually, the concentration of organic additives in brine ranges from 5 to 20 percent. One typical mixture is 85% salt brine, 5% calcium chloride brine, and 10% organic.” (Brine Fact Sheet, 2016)
Aside from its safety benefits, brine has had increasingly popularity in the last few decades due to its environmental benefits. Jeremy Darling, CSP and ASM, at JC Grounds Management explains how 800 lbs./acre with rock salt vs 90 lbs./acre of salt with brine results in almost 90% less chloride pollution on average. When comparing the use of brine to rock salt, brine reduces the environmental pollution of our drinking water, our aquatic life, and our soil. The use of brine will also help lower your chances of turf damage and internal floor damage. Using brine also is less harmful to our cars and concrete.
Jon Crandall, President of JC Grounds Management explains further why we choose to use liquid deicers. “With recent concerns of potential Legislation in Massachusetts regarding reduction of chlorides as well as just good sense around environmental stewardship, we are always looking into different methods to still provide exceptional service and safe passing on our client’s properties. We have been using liquid deicers for over 10 years but really dove deep in 2017 with close to .5-million-dollar investment in producing, storing, application and research/training. As we fine tune the system, the results keep getting better, and in many cases out performing traditional rock salt. We are very excited about the continued potential to utilize this product on our clients who value sustainability and demand excellence. “
Overall, liquid deicers are a beneficial additive for all of us to have in our artillery when fighting snow and ice. It is better for the environment, better for your property, and is a proactive measure in keeping everyone on your property safe.
“Road Treatment Types.” Mass.gov, www.mass.gov/service-details/road-treatment-types.
“Brine Fact Sheet.” APWA Winter Maintenance Sub-Committee, https://www.coralville.org/DocumentCenter/View/6806/Anti-Icing-Brine-Fact-Sheet?bidId=. 2016.