Deicer melts ice, budget concerns in Colorado

Case Studies
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Monty Sedlak, manager of the Road and Bridge Division for Arapahoe County, Colo., discovered Cargill’s ClearLane enhanced deicer at an APWA conference three years ago. After researching the product, Sedlak learned it came with a high PNS grading, corrosion resistance properties, consistent gradation and pre-wet characteristics.

He also found it cost much less than competing products.

Cargill makes a superior product with ClearLane , and it’s less expensive,” Sedlak said. “When you start comparing apples to apples, [deicer] competes with other enhanced products in the same PNS category, but it’s about $50/ton less in price. That’s a significant benefit.”

The deicer’s high PNS grading means it is rated 70% less corrosive than rock salt, which was a consideration for Sedlak and Arapahoe County. “Corrosivity resistance doesn’t affect the cars on the road, but it does affect the equipment that handles and distributes the materials,” he said. “When it’s in my equipment and trucks, or being used by the loader, it is less corrosive on those vehicles, and that is a selling factor.”

“There are many other benefits to using the deicer as well,” Sedlak added. “For example, it has more consistent gradation in the back of the trucks. Some salts have a gradation that incorporates fine particles with larger particles, but what that does is establishes a structural matrix of interlocking particles. That’s fine if you’re putting aggregate in a hole, but it’s not good for salt in a truck. I don’t want the mixture to interlock and create one solid monolithic mass; I want it to come out of the truck, spread onto the roads and stay there to melt the ice. That’s exactly what Cargill’s product does.”

“Another benefit of the ClearLane product is that it’s pre-wet, so it has less bounce,” Sedlak said. “When it hits the road, it sticks to the ice and snow. A product that’s not pre-wetted bounces and goes off into the ditch, and then it’s just not very effective.”

“And ClearLane is hotter because of the higher chloride content,” he added. “The product I was using previously was more expensive and wasn’t pre-wet, which negatively impacted the trucks from a corrosion perspective, and had less melting capability from a deicing perspective. Not only am I saving money with [the deicer] but I’m also getting a higher grade of salt with more attributes.”

While Arapahoe County doesn’t plow every road in their network, for the roads they do plow, they use the deicer on every one. Last year, 3,000 tons of the product were distributed over 360 lane-miles in the network.

“The [deicer] works well on my spreaders, it stores well and it melts the ice. Those are the main considerations I have: Does it spread? Does it melt the ice? Does it store well? The answers are yes, yes and yes. And is it the best buy for my budget? Absolutely yes.”

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