19 January 2010

In this winter of record making snow, cold, ice and rain, there is some good news for the environment

Around the world, the impact of salt applied to roads during snowy and icy weather has been reported for years.

In Germany, for example, this article notes that 1.59 MILLION TONS of salt were applied to roads to try to keep them safe.
As the snow and ice melt, the salt runs into the environment, killing trees, fish, frogs, salamanders, etc.

The good news is that some states in the U.S. are finding alternatives that are less destructive while keeping motorists safe.

In Syracuse New York, the Public Works Dept. is mixing salt with water to make a brine that can be sprayed on bridges. Cheaper and effective.

The state of Vermont actually built a brine plant.

Upping the ante to the next level, Ohio, Missouri and Maryland are combining salt with a molasses product made from sugar beets. The molasses helps the salt stick to the road, cutting down the amount of salt needed to get the desired effect.

Nevada is taking a completely high tech approach, installing brine spraying nodes into new bridges. The sensors can tell when the bridge needs to be sprayed and no one has to get up in the middle of the night and drive those trucks.

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