Hot Topics - Salt and Anti-Icing: Winter Maintenance

December 2017

​Keeping the surfaces we travel on safe is one of the City's biggest responsibilities. In the winter months, it takes even more care and caution. We do our best to make sure our methods are efficient and cost effective, while reducing impacts to the environment. Here is some information about our efforts, as well as tips for you to implement at home!

What is anti icing?

Anti icing is a winter maintenance method which assists in preventing the bond of snow to the pavement or street surfaces. The product is a liquid solution, or "Salt Brine" which is made up of water that has been mixed with rock salt or sodium chloride to a 23% salt concentration. The liquid is effective to a pavement temperature of 15 degrees. The solution can also be blended with other products to  improve its performance to temperatures lower than 15 degrees and improve its adherence to road surfaces. 

How is it applied?

The best possible time to apply the salt brine solution is prior to a winter snow event and in limited applications prior to freezing rain. 

What are the advantages? 
  • Prevents the bond of snow to the pavement surface
  • Assists in returning street surface to bare pavement
  • Applying salt brine jump starts the melting process
  • The brine material sticks to the pavement surface and is not lost like dry salt pellets
  • Increases efficiency which results in the use of less dry salt material being applied and also reduces the budgetary impacts, along with impacts to the watersheds and environment
  • Proactive approach to winter maintenance 

​What are the environmental impacts?

Salt pollutes

. Road salt contains chloride, a water pollutant. When snow and ice melt, the salt goes with it, washing into our lakes, streams, wetlands, and groundwater. It only takes

one teaspoon

of road salt to permanently

pollute five gallons of water

. Once in the water, there is no way to remove the chloride, and at high concentrations, chloride can

harm fish and plant life

. Less is more when it comes to applying road salt. 

Home De-Icing Tips and Tricks
  • Most de-icing salt products are only effective when the temperature is over 15 degrees Fahrenheit
  • De-icing salt is corrosive and can cause damage to concrete; it is also harmful to plants
  • Keep all salt and de-icing chemicals stores safely, out of reach of children and pets
  • Sand and kitty litter does help with traction, however it leaves a mess to clean up and clogs storm sewers
  • A 12 oz. coffee mug of de-icing salt can cover 250 square feet! 

Check back monthly for a new hot topic and click here to see articles from previous months!