Brines for De-Icing

The use of Brines in Anti-Icing

Traditional de-icing uses granular salt to melt ice that has formed on cold surfaces. As the salt dissolves, it depresses the freezing point of the ice and the ice melts. Sometimes granular salt is mixed with sand to form an abrasive mixture providing friction to prevent slips and falls once the ice has melted.

This approach can be effective but has the following disadvantages

  • Labour Intensive: Most often a two-man operation. Expensive and slow to cover areas. Often only sufficient time to cover the most intensively used areas leaving peripheral areas untreated.
  • Manual handling and distribution: Salt is heavy and spreading it is done manually with shovels or push-behind spinners. Health & safety risk to the operators, who themselves can often slip and trip with heavy bags or shovels.
  • Wasteful: Much salt bounces out of the way to the sides where it concentrates in doorways or kerbs and is wasted.
  • Adverse Environmental: Because more salt is used than is required, the excess can run-off into ditches and drains causing issues for soil structure within amenity land, verges and water pollution.
  • Requires follow-up street sweeping if sand is used, which adds to waste arisings.
  • It is often a reactive treatment

The use of super-saturated brines is now commonplace in the United States for treating

  • Pedestrianised areas – where it is important to avoid slips and falls, with knock-on implications for health & well-being
  • Highway applications – where road safety is a statutory responsibility

Brines are used either

  • In pedestrian applications typically used before the freezing conditions and prevents the formation of ice or can be used at higher rates following frost to dissolve ice or
  • In highways operations, brines are often carried in belly-tanks to spray onto rock-salt as a pre-wetting agent to improve its effectiveness.
  • In the case of heavy snowfall, traditional salt and grit applications will still be required in highly trafficked areas.

In particular, in pedestrian applications the use of brines allows Local Authorities to

  • Mechanise the process enabling high-traffic and peripheral areas to be treated within a given time window improving productivity and safety.
  • Saves Labour: De-icing can be a single man operation using an ATV quad-bike with sprayer-pump allowing labour to be focused on business-as-usual activities.
  • Minimises storage, mechanical & man-handling & waste at the depot with all products pumped from dedicated tanks
  • More uniform treatment at faster speeds: Pumped product via nozzles covers the area intended at the correct rate without the uncertainty of over-treatment or under-treatment, which leaves patches of ice to the unwary.
  • More effective so less salt is used reducing budget costs
  • Less salt has adverse environmental impact
  • Cleaner and requires no follow-up sweeping
  • Can use existing plant and equipment that is used for other seasonal activities
  • Can be stored for long periods of time without degrading. There is no product expiry so unused product can be over-seasoned for use
  • Non-hazardous for storage.. No COSHH implications.
  • No soil damage to verges or municipal planting, or grass, which then needs to be re-established.
  • Can be used as a proactive application to prevent ice-build-up

The Complete Anti-Ice Concept from Brineflow

Brineflow can assist local authorities with the supply of brines for

  • Highway Applications – where brines are used to pre-wet salt from belly tanks before being spun onto the road
  • Pavement Applications – where brines are sprayed ‘neat’ onto paved surfaces

In all cases, supply can be made by bulk road tanker to fibreglass tank at the depot to receive deliveries of saturated brines in quantities of 10,000 – 25000 litres depending on tank use.

In the case of pedestrian applications, additional equipment is required

  • Nurse tank mounted on a pick-up truck or light truck either
  • Fitted with a sprayer unit itself for direct application of brine to the pavement
  • Acting as a nurse tender tank to feed a number of ATV-mounted tanks
  • ATVs fitted with mobile spray equipment