It may sound early for most Rhode Islanders, but for the Department of Public Works in your town, now is the time to think about road salt for winter storms. While these traditional ice melting methods are useful for helping to keep drivers safe in icy conditions, typical road salt can have devastating events on the environment. Thankfully, a New England-based company called Safe Road Services provides local public works departments with a much safer alternative.
The Dangers of Road Salt
According to Smithsonian Magazine, an estimated 22 million tons of salt are scattered on U.S. roads every year. To put that into perspective, that’s about 130 lbs. of salt for every American.
When the ice and snow melts, all of that salt has to go somewhere – which happens to be a big problem for waterways, soil, and our infrastructure. When road salt dissolves, it splits into sodium and chloride ions. When those ions run off roads and into the nearby environment, they can cause serious damage.
According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, these ions can enter freshwater bodies of water through runoff and even seep into groundwater, affecting drinking water. Chloride from road salts can be toxic to aquatic life. On top of that, it can affect wildlife and pets who can often ingest road salt. It also damages the vegetation that wildlife feed on by changing the chemical structure of the soil.
If you’ve noticed how road salt can corrode the paint on your vehicle if it’s not clean, it’s easy to see how road salt damages roads, bridges, vehicle parts, and equipment after years of heavy salt use. According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, “The cost of corrosion damage and corrosion protection practices for highways and the automobile industry has been reported to cost a staggering 16-19 billion dollars per year.”
That’s where Safe Road Services comes in to make a difference.
Safe Road Services Steps Up
SAFE MELT™ is a powerful de-icing product from Safe Road Services that can be used to reduce the amount of harmful chloride ions introduced to the environment from road salt by as much as 50%. Made from calcium chloride and a forestry byproduct of the paper-pulping process called lignin, this de-icer passes some of the toughest environmental safety tests in the country. It is even safe enough to eat as demonstrated on WGME CBS News in Portland, Maine – although we don’t recommend it.
The future of ice melters, SAFE MELT™, is effective to pavement temperatures of zero degrees Fahrenheit. It is biodegradable, low toxicity, safe to handle, and cost-competitive with other ice melters in the industry. Not only is it better for the environment, but it has received glowing testimonials from the highway and department of public works officials who have used it.
“We have been using Safe Melt for the past 8 years and are very satisfied with the product thus far… Using this product means the difference between having to stay later and use more salt or going home to get that much-needed rest. It tends to bind to the asphalt very well and lasts longer than salt alone,” wrote Jim Jones, a foreman who cares for the roads in Brewster, MA.
“We often get comments from other surrounding towns on how well Brewster’s roads are. The use of this product has helped greatly in the response to public safety and with school delays and closures,” Jones continued.
If you would like to learn more about SAFE MELT™, visit saferoadservices.com!