EDITOR'S NOTE: This guest column was first published on the author's LinkedIn page. It is reprinted with permission in its entirety.
I believe that the use of bulk salt will start to decline soon for both environmental and economic reasons. Instead, snow removal businesses will have to increasingly look to liquid ice melt to help manage snow.
What to Know About Liquid Ice Melt
Liquid deicer is more effective at melting snow and ice, plus it grants you increased control. Consider how much easier it is to target an area with a liquid vs. salt granules. This efficiency in distribution means that you use less product and less time. In fact, it is estimated that using liquid deicer reduces material and labor costs by about 64%.
With today’s rising concern for the environment, liquid deicer has become much more appealing to environmentally conscious clients. It is less damaging to landscaping, vegetation, lakes, rivers, and groundwater. Consider that you are already using a diluted version of salt when you apply liquid deicer. This means that you are applying the “minimum effective dose” to remove the ice. Any rock salt that remains after a job is product wasted. Further, this rock salt then burns the vegetation or waits for the next snow to get diluted and put into the water supply. A liquid deicer does the job, gets even further diluted, and then joins the groundwater.
It is also a lot cleaner, as salt tends to travel with vehicles, which can carry its environmental damage elsewhere.
In order to get the best use out of liquid ice melt, your snow removal business must be completely comprehensive on its application.
How to Apply Liquid Ice Melt
Every liquid ice melt has a different window of time for temperature and application of the product. It is important to know when to apply the product so that it is effective, and your company is not wasting any money. The manufacturer of the liquid deicer should provide you with performance tables to demonstrate when is best to use the product. Measuring the ground temperature of the application site is also important for proper usage. Liquid ice melt cannot be applied to a surface that is too cold, or when the weather is predicted as windy.
Before and After Snow
Following the steps laid out previously, liquid deicer should be applied in anticipation of a storm. Liquid ice melt will reduce the need for a plow post-storm, as it prevents the snow from bonding to the pavement. It will either cut down on the number of times an area needs to be plowed, or get rid of the need for one at all. As liquid ice melt is the more up and coming deicer, it may take customers time to adjust to the idea of it. However, as a snow removal business, explaining to customers all the benefits of liquid deicer can show them how it appeals to everyone. It is better for the environment, and it will save your business money in the long run.
Justin Rollin is president of Green Bay-based Earth Development, a full-service snow maintenance and lawn care company. He's also the president of Ninja De-Icer.