Scott County Public Works had heard about using pre-wet salt for treating slippery winter roadways. Because the effectiveness was hard to ignore, officials at the Minnesota county decided to try out pre-wet salt by creating a homemade pre-wet mixture. After much trial and error, however, the DIY process just didn’t add up when it came to overall costs.
“We knew pre-wet salt worked better than regular salt, but what we didn’t know is what an economic drain making our own mix could be,” said Greg Felt, project manager for the county.
Throughout the in-house process, Felt and the county found effective results with their homemade mix, but also were faced with higher costs, greater labor requirements and storage issues. As a result, Felt began to re-think the DIY strategy.
“We could only mix small amounts at a time due to limited storage space,” he said. “That alone caused inventory problems. Plus, it took a lot of time and materials to create the pre-wet salt on our own.”
That’s when the county started looking for alternatives to making the pre-wet mixture in-house. What they found was a pre-wet enhanced deicer product that offered additional benefits for providing more effective winter maintenance.
The deicer product used by Felt and Scott County is a salt product called ClearLane enhanced deicer, which is produced by Cargill Deicing Technology. The product is different than regular rock salt because it contains a pre-wetting agent and coloring agent.
Felt indicated the enhanced deicer is a big win for the county overall, especially when it comes to cost. Using the deicer, they apply about 35 to 40% less material on the roadways compared to salt because the enhanced deicer product is more effective. Because they don’t have to put as much on the roads, savings add up when it comes to labor and materials.
In past seasons, Scott County applied about 8,000 tons of the deicer, on average. During one particularly harsh winter, the county applied over 9,500 tons of the product over 737 paved lane-miles.
“That year, if we could have gotten a hold of 11,000 or 12,000 tons, we would have used that too,” Felt said. “Over the years it’s simply made more sense for us to use the enhanced deicer than make our own pre-wet mix.”