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Old 01-16-2011, 09:18 AM   #1
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Ice clearing, prevention


Here's my question maybe y'all can help with.

I have been frustrated with the recent ice storm as it regards my job. We were told to come in to work and then suggested to go home if we couldn't find something to do. I work for a City Parks Department and obviously no one was playing on the swings for a couple of days. Needless to say our work environment is outdoors so it's not like "if you can get to the office."

I have known several truck drivers who have always said they would much rather drive up north than in the south when winter weather comes. What is done in the north for ice clearing that I could suggest to my employer? Do the ice preventers work? We would have to order that online because no one stocks it here. The old salt/sand plan is all we have to use. Unfortunately I work for an organization that seems to use no common sense or puts any value on prevention at all. Just wait until everything is impassable then try to play catch-up for public relations.

Oh well, at least I got to vent!

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Old 01-16-2011, 09:35 AM   #2
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Ice clearing, prevention


Salt and sand is what we use up here. Salting in your climate should be as effective as calcium chloride up in NY.
We also use salt and sand on the roads. Calcium chloride is used by homeowners for residendial use as it melts ice at a lower temperature then salt and does less damage to the surrounding vegetation..
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:41 AM   #3
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Ice clearing, prevention


In northern areas the trick is to presalt the road BEFORE the storm hits. This is done by mixing the salt with a small amount of water, then effectively spraying it on the pavement. This is a good way to get ahead of the game. If you get enough snow/ice, you need to salt periodically to maintain ice melting.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:25 AM   #4
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Ice clearing, prevention


Before we get snowstorms, the city, county & state goes around to the intersections, bridges and off ramps and spray down an anti-icing solution, which is normally a Sugar Beet component. As for anti-icing prevention this year with Salt, they have been limiting it, and trying to get the streets as clear as they can, then let the sun shine to melt. My street, which is a Secondary under the snow clearing guidelines, never got touched, but maybe twice in the two snow storms we have had, and we are supposed to get some more this week.

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Old 01-16-2011, 11:16 AM   #5
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Ice clearing, prevention


Ron,
I guess I thought that calcium chloride was a form of salt but I guess that's the third time this week I've been mistaken.
Dan,
That's the plan I was thinking of- get something down pre-event to make cleanup much easier. Sort of like I use pre-emergent for weed control in flower beds. I don't like bending over to pull weeds but, if one compares apples to tangerines, I don't like falling on ice either.
Greg,
That's what I am trying to get them to do here. I work in the parks division so I am not concerned with the roadways other than getting from point A to point B but I think it is stupid to risk falling and breaking bones just to beat inch-thick ice with a shovel when it could have been prevented.

Thanks for the great posts!

I forgot to ask so I'll edit:
Any suggestions for some kind of solution, maybe like Dan posted, that could be sprayed in an agriculture sprayer. I have backpacks, small 60 gal tank and a hydroseeder that I use for irrigation and water soluble fertilizer applications. I could mix ahead of time and keep the truck/equipment in the heated shop.
Thanks again.
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:42 AM   #6
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Urea is also used. As for keeping in a sprayer, it only works for before the snow, but would have to be reapplied after clearing the roadways & entrances to the buildings. Also, check with the maintenance guys out at the airport, since Rock Salt, and other hard de-icers can not be used around aircraft, but they would be able to tell you what they use.
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:09 PM   #7
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Ice clearing, prevention


If you have rain or melting snow, the pretreatments do not work very well. Our highway department just has everything ready to go to put it down at the right time before the snow starts. Fortunately our frequent storms are very predictable ("Alberta Clippers" that run an a defined track and on schedule) are followed by cold weather for the snow removal, which is fast and complete. The overtime for the waiting for the right time is minimal in comparison to the extra removal and clean-up costs later.

Dick

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Old 01-16-2011, 04:57 PM   #8
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greg,
Is that the same more or less urea that is in fertilizers? What kind of product is it that it can be used in a sprayer?

cm,
Good to hear from you.
Quote:
The overtime
Your point is well taken and generally that is the process I had in mind. For instance, this stuff came in on Sunday night (with a week's warning, I might add). If I had a tank mixed before leaving Friday afternoon and hooked up inside a heated shop and ready to go, all one or two of us would have to do would be come in a couple of hours Sunday afternoon and spray all the concerned areas down.

Just a little while ago this afternoon, six days after the storm, I broke up 1 1/2 inches of solid ice in my driveway. It doesn't keep me from getting out, but it is in the shade and we would have to have 60's for a week for a solid layer like that to melt. I just wanted to get it out of the way.

We had a nice snow, then sleet on top of it. Then when the sun would begin to melt it, we had teens overnight which just froze it that much harder and made a dangerous glaze that was impossible to get up even with a tractor. I tried one spot beating it with the teeth on a backhoe dipper. This stuff was just hard and frozen solid to the pavement. It seems to me that some kind of pretreatment would help it release better and get it up much easier.
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:17 PM   #9
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Ice clearing, prevention


Even if you can't get the ice up, spreading Urea (Ammonia based Fertilizer (used at airports), or even Salt in the morning, it will help to loosen it up. One year I went through and put down a layer of Cal. Chloride on our sidewalks & Salt on the drives for me & my neighbor, it helped when I went out to shovel & chip the ice layer off that we got that year. This year has been pretty much just Loose Snow with hardly any moisture in it, so it has been easier to just shovel the first time, and then let the next round go down and then let melt.

If it was more moisture, we would have had a mess ourselves up here. Tomorrow will be fun, since they are forecasting Snow & Sleet mix for a part of the area.
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Old 01-16-2011, 06:39 PM   #10
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Maybe I missed it, but what are you trying to de-ice now, and anti-ice in the future?

If it's asphalt driveways and your worried about the surrounding lawn, calcium chloride would be a great option for you now. Rock salt will work just as effectively in your case, at far less cost, but it very well could damage some vegetation. What you really need to do is to figure out how to get a brine going UNDER the ice at this point. That may mean chipping ice in a few spots on the high side of the lot to get things going. De-icing from the top on an inch+ of ice is a nightmare no matter what climate you're in. In WI, we get are fair-share of snow, and I can tell you that 1" of ice would be equally as debilitating to day-to-day operations here as 36" of snow.

As Dick stated, anti-icing (pre-salting) is tough and requires some very serious diligence and experience to be successful at it when it's rain. Snow is far easier. Alot of folks in the North use liquid calcium, either home-made or bought from well mines. It washes away fairly quick though in rain. For rain to freezing rain events, the best way to address it IMO is either the largest rock salt you can get your hands on, or even the largest solar salt you can get locally. Solar isn't near as effective, but the large pellet will last far longer in rain, giving you more time to "guess" when the pavement is going to cool enough to ice over.

There's a ton of other options, but I can't see them as being feasible in your area. Shipping would kill you for well brine solution (most are 28-30% calcium, mag, etc...., and the rest is water), beet juice only enhances other de-icers and doesn't work as a "stend-alone", urea is extremely safe, but no where near as effective as the salts.

One more thought for addressing the ice from the top. It can be a little messy (it tracks bad) but ashes/cinders melt ice very well.
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:57 AM   #11
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Ice clearing, prevention


Jo,
I didn't go into a lot of detail at first because I didn't know what responses I would receive and left the further explanation until asked as you have now. Sorry if that did get a little confusing.

My concerns are sidewalks leading up to buildings, some of the parking lot (part gravel, part asphalt) and sidewalk around our own shop and maybe a small amount of driveways right in front of some of the buildings. Most of the areas are surrounded with bermuda sod. I am thinking that there has to be way to pre-treat some of the areas so that when we have to deal with them in the next day or so they will be easier to work on. And admittedly some of this is just plain small-town poliltics. With the ice in this last event, it was frozen so hard that even a backhoe didn't work but we were up beating it with shovels to break it loose. STUPID, but the powers to be just had to have the sidewalks cleared even though all the news media was caustioning people to stay home. Go figure!

We started with a nice snow then a little sleet on top. The biggest problem was that as some of this melted in the sun, we were below freezing for several days with nights in the teens. So everything that melted during the day just added to the ice problem overnight.

Again, my apology maybe for not giving more information at first but frankly I didn't know if it made a difference and I didn't want to put so much info as to make the question confusing. Boy I've learned a lot!

I was really thinking about some kind of solution that could be sprayed with one of our ag sprayers (parks maintenance, landscaping) but I'm completely open to any ideas to propose.

I expect to be confronted with a cost complaint. So how much does a couple hundred dollars of solution and shipping compare to even one person who falls and is out of work for several months? But, as my supervisor commented on another problem one time, "I'll worry about that IF it gets to be a problem."

To me, if I am the one with a broken bone it is a problem. And if it was avoidable in the first place, it is a stupid problem!
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:44 PM   #12
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Downunder,

I appologize for being real short tonight, but ironically, I'm just home for a few moments to take a break from snow removal.

There's two different discussions and approaches talked about here:

One is de-icing (post application)

The other is anti-icing (pre-app.)

I take it you're more interested in the pre-app. to keep the ice from freezing down to the pavement. This is really difficult to do in all honesty with the amount of rain I suspect your area received. Like I said before, even a seasoned vet. would be hard-pressed to handle that much freezing rain with success.

I honestly think that liquids may be far too much overhead to get into in your situation. The only way I can see that it would be feasible would be if the local ready-mix concrete yards use cal-chloride in your area, and were willing to sell you a "tote" at a reasonable price.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by downunder View Post
Ron,
I guess I thought that calcium chloride was a form of salt but I guess that's the third time this week I've been mistaken.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_%28chemistry%29
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:06 PM   #14
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jomama,

I didn't take your reply as being short, just straightforward and not nearly so much as I am sometimes.

Actually in this instance, we really did not get any rain, just snow then sleet on top of it. But other areas not far away did get rain which turned to freezing rain and ice. I can understand where much rain would wash away most pretreatment, just like rain will wash away some herbicide applications which is where my experience is. But I was thinking that a pretreatment might help in the post-storm cleanup if it didn't get washed away.

I'm just frustrated that here we have another instance of virtually no planning (thanks again for everyone listening to me vent!) and then I have to risk physical injury standing on solid ice trying to beat this stuff loose with a shovel. Not only that but I am nearing 60, have "itis" in nearly every joint with bone spurs on some that I take prescription pain meds for, and I know from past experience that the City really doesn't give a rat's a.. about you when you get hurt. We actually had a memo about how much the City has paid out for worker's comp the last year with a strong suggestion that we be more careful. Then they send us out on this ice with less safety consideration than a kid on a skateboard to clean the sidewalks when the radio and TV is telling everyone to stay home. So I am taking yet another proactive stance to try to find some way to make my life and work safer and easier.

I am interested in checking out the suggestion about cal choride from the cement company. We actually have two local companies.

Again,
thanks to all for listening and all the suggestions and feedback.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:41 PM   #15
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Looks my high school chemistry 40 years ago. Frankly the "...ites" and "...ates" always confused me.

Operagost, I don't see what this has to do with the thread topic. Calcium is included in a list of salt-forming cations and chloride is included in a list of salt-forming anions, so I presume by inference that is the only thing this article has to do with calcium chloride and nothing to do with its use for melting ice.

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