Enhancing salt brine for better snow and ice control in Minnesota

Oct. 24, 2017

The city of St. Cloud and county of Anoka in Minnesota were both looking to enhance the performance of their salt brine operations. In 2015, St. Cloud used over 81,000 gal of salt brine and purchased 2,290 tons of salt. Anoka County is responsible for maintaining and clearing snow and ice from 423 miles of roads. The use of salt brine is a great tool for snow fighters in these municipalities, as pre-treating, deicing and anti-icing can be done with the salt brine product to varying degrees.

The two municipalities have very similar missions for their streets departments. St. Cloud’s is to clean, repair, clear snow and ice from, and maintain the municipal street, alley and sidewalk systems, while Anoka County’s is to protect, preserve, and improve travel on their highway system. To accomplish these missions, each organization uses salt brine as an effective tool for combating snow and ice.

Both groups recognized that salt brine alone had some performance limitations:

  • It is prone to drying out and being blown from the surface by the wind;
  • The melting point of salt brine is often not low enough to be effective in many storms; and
  • Salt brine is among the worst options in terms of the corrosion it will cause.

Enhancing the salt brine with AMP by EnviroTech Services Inc. was the favored solution. It allowed both entities to have a more tackified product that kept it on roads as an anti-icer, allowed it to work at lower temperatures and reduced the corrosion to be on the PNS-QPL (Pacific Northwest Snowfighters—Qualified Product List) with a corrosion rate reduced by 70% over salt alone.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation had approved and the city of St. Cloud had previously used a beet juice product as an additive in the past with their salt brine.  Foul odor and staining is a common problem customers experience with the use of beet juice products. Anoka County had also used a beet juice product in the past with their salt brine with similar issues. Both customers were looking for a solution that would allow a cleaner and easier-to-use additive, and AMP gave them the enhanced performance they were seeking.

Both St. Cloud and Anoka County found an added advantage of enhancing salt brine with AMP that includes reducing chlorides to the environment by up to 75% due to the improved effectiveness of the product over salt alone.

The two municipalities are continuing to monitor the effectiveness of the AMP enhanced salt brine. But as of this last winter, the performance was rated as 10 out of 10 by the city of St. Cloud, and Anoka County was very pleased with the performance of the product after using it about 10 times this past season.