City of Spearfish, S.D., finds a way to protect winter-maintenance equipment

Snow and Ice Removal Case Studies
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The city of Spearfish, S.D., had a problem with corrosion on their winter-maintenance equipment. The rust and corrosion had become unacceptable.


“We had deicing equipment that was extremely corroded from road salt,” said George Martin, superintendent of streets for the city. “In fact, we were about to throw some of the equipment away.”


Before sending the corroded equipment to the scrap pile, however, Martin and the city started experimenting with different deicing products. Soon they discovered an enhanced deicer that proved effective at melting snow, icy roadways and reducing equipment corrosion.


“We decided to switch to this enhanced deicing product, and years later that same equipment is still in use with no increased corrosion or damage. The deicing product we decided to use just isn’t as corrosive as regular salt,” Martin said.


The deicer Martin and the city selected is called ClearLane enhanced deicer and produced by Cargill Deicing Technology. The enhanced deicer is a salt-based product that’s different than regular rock salt because it contains chemical and natural additives including a PNS-approved corrosion inhibitor, pre-wetting agent and coloring agent. These additives help protect distribution equipment from damp salt corrosion, and keep roads clear by providing a faster reaction time and longer residual effects.


Keeping scatter off the roadsides was an added benefit to Martin and his team, as putting less product on the road led to environmental benefits for the community.


“Not long ago a local student conducted leaching tests on the local river,” Martin said. “After a heavy snowstorm we applied about 150 tons of the deicer to a 6-mile stretch of road that ran next to the river. After the application, the student couldn’t find any measurable amount of chlorides in the river water. The product didn’t leach into the environment.”


Along with reduced vehicle corrosion and environmental benefits, Martin said the city was additionally pleased with the residual effects of the deicer.


“We’ve had times when we applied the deicer, plowed the roads, and then had another snowfall occur shortly after plowing,” he said. “That’s when we’ve noticed that the ice and snow begins melting before we’ve even re-applied the product.”


Maintaining approximately 150 paved lane-miles, Spearfish typically applies between 300 to 500 tons of the enhanced deicer each year. Between corrosion protection, environmental benefits and effective melting characteristics, Martin and the city of Spearfish expect to continue using the enhanced deicer long into the future.

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