Anti-Icing and Sustainability

  January 4, 2012

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, anti-icing products and sustainability.

Grounds managers looking for more sustainable options for preventing and removing ice on paved surfaces have a range of alternatives. These alternatives include the following:
Calcium chloride. Calcium chloride is a byproduct of some chemical manufacturing processes. Proper storage is imperative — in plastic or metal bins with lids — because it absorbs water easily. When used correctly, it will not harm vegetation, but it can leave an oily, slippery residue. As a result, it might not be the product of choice around facilities with much foot traffic.
Magnesium chloride. This deicer is granular and blends with other chlorides or in a liquid solution. It is safe to use around vegetation, but crews should not apply it too heavily because it can become slippery. The granular form absorbs water quickly, so crews must store it in a dry area and seal it, or it will harden.
Potassium chloride. A good all-around deicer for pedestrian areas, potassium chloride shares the chemical makeup of some fertilizers. As a result, it is safe to use around vegetation and causes minimal impact on soil and water.
Urea. This product, also a fertilizer, comes in a granular form. When applied in recommended amounts, urea should not harm vegetation and can even promote growth. As with any product used excessively, it can lead to run-off and contamination of groundwater and ponds.
Calcium-magnesium acetate. Calcium-magnesium acetate has limited melting capabilities but is biodegradable. It can be used primarily to prevent ice formation on concrete, bridges and roads, which are sensitive to corrosion. It also helps prevent the freeze/thaw cycles that occur with other chemical treatment products.


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