Wednesday, March 29, 2017 Medina 48°
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Brunswick roads to receive 'salt on steroids'

Here’s a case where a performance-enhancer is welcome. Brunswick’s service department is adding a liquid to road salt that is expected to speed up the melting process.

It is called “SOS” and referred to by Service Director Paul Barnett as “salt on steroids.”

“It does a number of things … lowers the effective temperature of salt, sticks to the roadway 30 percent better and provides a higher service level,” he said.

The additive will work under colder conditions compared with 17 degrees at which temperature salt becomes ineffective. Barnett said the additive will drop the salt’s effectiveness to as low as minus-20 degrees.

“Those days that are in single digits, the salt can’t melt the roadway because it’s ineffective,” he said.

“By adding liquid to the salt, it immediately starts working compared to salt alone that has to absorb moisture before it can melt snow.”

He said the additive’s “sticking agent” helps salt stay on the road instead of bouncing off onto traveling vehicles.

“It’s like putting 30 percent more salt on the roadway,” Barnett said. “That’s big savings.”

Barnett said the department mixes approximately 6 to 7 gallons of the liquid, which has a hint of blue dye, with a ton of rock salt and loads the salt into six trucks.

The additive costs about $8,000, which was allotted for in the city’s 2017 budget, Barnett said.

To monitor the effectiveness of the additive, the city has installed cameras and laser sensors at two intersections — Pearl and Laurel roads and Grafton and Hadcock roads. Every 10 minutes, the cameras will take a picture of the roadway.

“The sensors will record air temperature, surface temperature — that’s the most critical — and if the roadway has frost, black ice, snow, slush or just a wet surface,” he said.

Sensors can provide a traction number of 0 to 100, with 0 being as “slick as an ice skating rink” and 100 being wet pavement, he said.

“We will use the data to compare what the roadway surface is like,” Barnett said. “We can really use the scientific data to determine how it is and how it isn’t working.”

The cameras and sensors, which cost about $40,000, came at no cost to the city. They were provided by EnviroTech Services, a Colorado company that provides deicing, anti-icing, dust control soil stabilization and erosion control.

Barnett said he attended a Cleveland Snow and Ice Expo last fall and learned about EnviroTech and its products.

“This is why we go to seminars and trade shows because that’s where we find the latest technology — what’s new, what’s working for other communities and what isn’t working,” Barnett said. “The product has been around on the West Coast for a while and they’re trying to make it available in this market here.”

Once there is a year’s worth of data, likely next winter, Barnett said the city will determine if the level of success is worth the cost.

“We’re constantly looking at ways to improve service levels and save money,” Barnett said. “This is one of those steps with the goal to improve service. This is, once again, one of the main reasons why it’s so important to have training for staff and see what other communities are using and technologies around you.”

Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or hheironimus@medina-gazette.com.

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