Green Practices for Ice Removal

Beginning in the winter of 2008/2009, the Public Works Department started using a liquid deicer to augment our use of rock salt. The liquid deicer is a mixture of salt brine (salt and water), liquid calcium chloride, and sugar beet extract. The use of this material has allowed us to reduce our use of road salt while utilizing an environmentally friendly product to achieve our goal of safe winter streets.

In late 2008, approximately 2,300 gallons of deicer liquid was tested by pre-wetting salt at the auger. The purpose of this test was to see if deicer could prolong the freezing of precipitation to road surfaces and allow us to use less salt. We discovered with the right application and correct situation the liquid worked very well.

By 2009, all 19 snow route trucks were applying deicer via pre-wetting at the auger. The first storage tank was installed and held 10,000 gallons of liquid. During this season 52,370 gallons of liquid was applied.

In early 2010, a 400-gallon anti-icing tank was installed on a 1-ton truck allowing the Village to place liquid down on roads prior to a winter weather event. This helps prevent the early onset of ice buildup by creating a layer between the road surface and the precipitation giving snow fighters a jump-start in battling storms.  During this season 62,435 gallons of liquid was applied.

The 2011 season began with an additional 400 gallon anti-icing truck being put into service, giving the Village a total of two trucks with a combined 800 gallon capacity. Additional storage tanks and a new enclosed pump house were installed. The new tanks gave the Village a total of 30,000 gallon storage capacity. During this season, a total of 50,855 gallons of liquid was applied to Village streets.

In 2014, a fifth storage tank was installed so that the anti-icing program could be expanded to include the Village’s three parking garages. This tank holds 6,000 gallons of liquid. The parking garage snow and ice control truck was outfitted with the necessary equipment to perform this operation.

At the onset of the 2015 season, a third 400 gallon anti-icing truck was put into service. This truck allowed the Village to expand our operation into arterial roadways under our jurisdiction. This was also the first winter that anti-icing occurred in the parking garages. A total of 167,637 gallons of liquid was used.

During the 2016 season, the Street Unit experimented with different blends of liquid. Some of these liquids were used during periods of extreme cold. We found them to be effective, and will continue to experiment in order to improve winter maintenance operations. A combined total of 138,928 gallons of liquid was used.

The 2017 season will include the usage of two new hook lift trucks that will be outfitted with 1,000 gallon tanks. These trucks and tanks will allow us to apply liquid in less time. We will be able to travel further from the Public Works facility without having to frequently return to refill the anti-icing liquid. Trucks with the smaller tanks will be used closer to the Public Works facility for refilling purposes. All together, we will have the ability to have a total of 3,200 gallons of liquid being applied at any given time.   

As a result of our increased use of liquid deicer (beet juice), the reduction in salt use was noticeable. The most dramatic reduction in rock salt use was 2008-2009 when the program was initiated. The following yea the program was fine-tuned and the liquid application use was increased from a rate of ten gallons of liquid per ton of salt to fifteen gallons liquid per ton of salt.