Many municipalities such as Burlington and Oakville are under increasing pressure to maintain high level of safety and mobility of their highways and streets in the winter seasons, while working with limited financial resources. Salts, both in solid and liquid forms, remains to be a primary mean for winter road maintenance due to their effectiveness in breaking and preventing the bonding of snow and ice to road surfaces. Large amounts of salts are applied every year to the highways and streets, which has increasingly become a public concern due to their detrimental effect to the environment, the infrastructure and the vehicles. Transportation agencies are actively seeking ways to reduce salt use while keeping their road safe and moving. New deicing chemicals and additives, mostly bio-based, are being developed in the industry which promises to delivery better snow and ice control performance with minimum environmental side effects. However, information on the field performance of these new chemicals as compared to regular salts is still not available to the users. How are their effectiveness related to the climate and weather conditions? What is their comparative performance in field as compared to conventional materials? What are the optimal mixing ratios and application rates when used in combination of regular salts and brines?
The main objective of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of several organic products used as either pre-wetting agents or additives to enhance the performance of regular rock salts or salt brines. The project focus is specifically on the field performance of these products in some specific climate conditions. While it is known that the effectiveness of these products depends on the proportion (or ratio) by which these products are mixed with salt or brine as well as the application rate of the end mixtures, this project considers only the ratios and application rates recommended by the product providers and used by the two municipalities.