The state and municipal road maintenance crews have been using liquid ice melt technology for years, but the commercial side of snow and ice management have not readily adopted this practice. Whatever the reasons for dragging our feet, I do believe we are missing out when we ignore this technology.

One advantage of using liquid ice melt (LIM) is for anti-ice applications. When sprayed on a surface before the storm, it will prevent the bonding of the snow and ice to the surface and allow for a clean plow out. It can even melt up to about an inch of snow without plowing, depending on the treatment and water content of the snow.

Another advantage of LIM is the decreased environmental loading of chlorides. A typical brine will contain about 3 lbs of salt/gallon, and that will cover 1000 sq ft. At 500 lbs of salt/acre, your load is above 11 lbs/1000 sq ft. LIM can also be used to spray on salt to activate it faster as it leaves the spreader at the impeller.  This will also reduce salt scatter and make your application more targeted.

A number of products are available as liquids. All the chlorides are available: sodium, calcium, and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium can be blended in to lower the melting temperature of the LIM. Organics such as beet juice are also available, which lower the melting point and act as a corrosion inhibitor. Many proprietary additives are used in ready-to-use products as corrosion inhibitors and activators. There are also non-chloride liquids like potassium acetate that are used where chlorides are not allowed, such as around airplanes or in garage parking areas. Many choices are available; and with a little research, one can decide on the product they will use for their situation.

LIM is not the answer to all conditions, but we are missing out on a valuable tool if we ignore the potential. Please give your ATS rep a call if you want to know more about implementing this strategy. And let us pray for snow this year!