Facts About Salt

Sustainable Road Salting Protects Motorists and the Enviroment

For Immediate Release: January 29, 2018
Contact: 239-231-3305
Jorge Amselle, Jorge@saltinstitute.org

Naples, FL - Each winter drivers across North America depend on snowfighters to keep roads safe and clear. This requires a combination of plowing and road salt, the single most important winter maintenance material. Despite their best efforts we still see more than 116,000 Americans injured and over 1,300 killed on snowy, slushy or icy pavement. Without the use of road salt these numbers would be far worse. A study conducted by Marquette University found that salt saves lives reducing accidents by up to 88 percent and injuries by up to 85 percent. Road salt is also vital to local and state economies by preventing costly winter shutdowns of the roadways. A study by IHS Global Insight for the American Highway Users Alliance found that snowstorms cost states as much as $700 million per day in both direct and indirect costs if roads are impassable.

In addition to protecting lives and commerce, snowfighters also take seriously their role in protecting the environment, including our lakes and rivers. In fact, for over 40 years, the Salt Institute has promoted the latest environmentally-friendly application technologies and sustainable practices in the management of road salt, from storage to snowfighting operations.

This winter season, several news reports have raised alarms about rising levels of chlorides in lakes and rivers, blaming road salt even though many of these chlorides come from naturally occurring and man-made sources not related to road salting. One study published in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of the Sciences (Salting our freshwater lakes) directly blames road salt for rising chloride levels in North American lakes. However, chloride levels in the majority of the examined lakes either stayed the same or declined and were far below EPA toxicity standards.

Several better studies have shown that when road salt is properly applied environmental impacts can be effectively managed and significantly minimized. Modern roadways themselves are not a natural feature of the environment and are specifically engineered to satisfy our demand for personal and commercial mobility – factors that are basic to the quality of life. This includes safe and sustainable snowfighting practices when needed to protect lives and commerce.

A comprehensive study by environmental researchers at the University of Waterloo and Environment Canada examined groundwater monitoring data and found that chloride levels were reduced by half when best practices were employed. In another study researchers at the Guelph University found that snowmelt runoff from major storm water outfalls could be collected and recycled to reduce chloride peaks in the streams without adversely affecting road safety.

Examples of how agencies have continued to improve their winter maintenance operations would include pre-wetting their rock salt prior to applying to the road (which reduces scatter and bounce of the rock salt substantially) and also using salt brine as a pre-storm application to prevent snow and ice from bonding to the pavement and thus making plowing more effective.

Salt is our most important winter resource, because it saves lives and protects the economy. It is economical and extremely effective. The benefits of road salting pays for itself within 25 minutes of application. The Salt Institute, which represents North American salt producers, will continue to support safe and sustainable snowfighting that both promotes public safety and mobility and protects the environment.

Staying Safe on Winter Roads

The Holiday Season is a perfect time to enjoy the company of family and friends. Celebrating the season and exchanging gifts also means a lot of travel and for most people that means driving to visit loved ones as well as to shopping centers and stores. For those who live in snow-belt states winter driving can be especially challenging.

Snow (and related weather events, like frost, sleet, and freezing rain) can significantly reduce the friction of the road surface, and slippery roads are significantly more dangerous than dry roads. A variety of studies suggest that you are about 50 percent more likely to have a crash on a road under winter driving conditions than on the same road under dry conditions.

States, cities and local agencies use many available tools to take care of our roads and address the negative consequences of winter weather. By plowing snow and using road salt in a safe and sustainable manner, road agencies can reduce accidents on roads under winter driving conditions by as much as 88 percent and can reduce injuries in those crashes by 85 percent according to a study by Marquette University. Those are significant improvements in safety. To achieve those gains, agencies must make sure they get the right amount of road salt to the right place, at the right time and keep the road salt where it will be effective.

The key is in recognizing how road salt works. The purpose of the road salt is NOT to melt the snow, but rather to stop the snow from freezing to the pavement. If that goal is achieved, then plowing the snow off the road is simple and extremely effective, and it turns out that preventing that bond does not take much salt. The exact amount depends on a variety of factors (example – the colder the road surface, the more salt is needed) and will be different for every storm.

Getting the road salt to the right place means having plow trucks deployed at the correct time, and in order to keep the road salt on the road surface (rather than bouncing off or being swept into a ditch) agencies pre-wet the road salt with salt brine. All of which means that those snow plow trucks you see on the roads during snow storms are doing quite a bit more than just pushing snow around!

In addition to enhancing the safety of our roads in winter conditions, those snow plows are doing a lot to improve mobility. These “snowfighters” reduce weather caused delays and congestion, allowing for emergency vehicles to respond more quickly when people need help, making for shorter travel times for families, allowing kids and parents to get to school and jobs safely and on time.

In fact, a study by IHS Global Insight for the American Highway Users Alliance found that snow and ice related delays and shut downs hurt hourly workers the most. This study also placed a monetary value on fast and effective snow removal and salting. According to the researchers a state can incur economic losses of between $300 million and $700 million every day that roads are closed and impassable. So, those snow plows are not just helping keep families together and safe, they are helping to keep the lifeblood of our commerce pumping during winter storms – a thing for which we can all be thankful!

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Sustainable Alternative Light

Salt isn't just a good idea for winter roads, a healthy diet and fertilizer applications...it's good for seeing in the DARK. Check this out!!

Just add water and salt!

Add 1 glass of water and 2 tablespoons of salt, use the lamp for 8 hours.

Cost Effective

There are over 7,000 islands in the Philippines and most of these islands do not have access to electricity. We want to eliminate the sustaining cost in areas that rely on kerosene/battery powered lamps and candles as their main source of lighting. And to provide a more efficient light source for people who use lamps and candles as an alternative source of lighting. Replace consumable every 6 months! Using SALt lamp 8 hours a day every day, with proper maintenance, will give you an anode lifespan of 6 months. Use this as an alternative light source will prolong the life of your anode for more than a year.


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