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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Smilk

Understanding the Strategic Use of Salt in Commercial Snow and Ice Management


To salt or not to salt. That is the question. Salt, a staple in snow and ice management, is a double-edged sword. While it effectively melts ice and enhances safety, its indiscriminate use can lead to environmental damage, property deterioration, and increased maintenance costs. Knowing when to salt and when to abstain is vital for property owners and managers aiming to strike a balance between safety and sustainability. 

 

Strategic Application of Salt


  1. Temperature Consideration: Salt is most effective when temperatures are above 15°F (-9°C). In extremely low temperatures, salt loses its effectiveness, necessitating alternative solutions like calcium chloride or sand for traction.

  2. Pre-treatment: Applying salt before a snow event can prevent ice from bonding to surfaces, making removal easier. Pre-treatment acts as a proactive measure to minimize ice formation.

  3. High-Traffic Areas: Concentrate salt application in high-traffic zones such as entrances, sidewalks, and parking lots. These areas demand immediate attention to ensure safe passage for pedestrians and vehicles.

  4. Environmental Impact: Excessive salt usage poses ecological risks, including damage to vegetation, water contamination, and corrosion of infrastructure. Avoid overuse and consider eco-friendly alternatives or mixtures to reduce environmental impact.

  5. Moisture Management: Salt works by lowering the freezing point of water and melting ice and snow. However, using too much salt can create excess runoff, leading to pooling water that refreezes, potentially exacerbating hazards.

 

When to Refrain from Salting

 

  1. Extremely Low Temperatures: In sub-zero temperatures, salt becomes less effective, necessitating alternative de-icing methods for safety.

  2. Sensitive Areas: Avoid excessive salt usage near sensitive areas like plant beds, grass, and water bodies to prevent environmental harm.

  3. Limited Effectiveness on Thick Ice: Salt may be less effective on thick ice layers. Mechanical removal or specialized ice-melting products might be more suitable in such cases.

  4. Post-Storm Consideration: After heavy snowfall, prioritize snow removal before salting. Salt should complement removal efforts rather than substitute them.

 

Strategic salt application is pivotal for maintaining safety on commercial properties during winter. Understanding the ideal conditions for salt usage, focusing on high-traffic areas, and considering environmental impact are critical factors in responsible snow and ice management. 

 

Eastern employs a balanced approach that combines practical salt usage with alternative de-icing methods to help ensure safety while minimizing environmental and property damage. We can help property owners and managers weigh these considerations to decide when to salt and when alternative measures might be more appropriate for their commercial properties. We're snow-ready, blizzard-prepared.

 

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