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Posted on: December 27, 2022

Richton Park Advancing in Snow-Removal Technology

We purchased a brine machine in 2019 to produce a high-concentration solution of salt in water, and has been manufacturing brine to pre-wet the salt before being applied to road for the winter season snow and ice operations. Applying brine to road salt is called pre-wetting. According to recent studies, pre-wetting salt can reduce salt usage by 30 percent. By pre-wetting the salt with brine prior to being applied to street, it is activated and starts working when it comes in contact with road, whereas dry salt needs to come into contact with precipitation (moisture from the snow) before it will to start work.

When dry salt is applied to roadways, researchers have found that up to 30 percent of the salt bounces and scatters into the curb lines. Pre-wetted salt does not bounce as much and stays in the roadways.

The Village also recently purchased an anti-icing machine that can now apply brine directly to the road surface. The direct application of brine, also known as anti-icing, can be applied to road surfaces up to three days prior to a snow event. Applying the brine to the roadways will prevent the snow and ice from forming a bond with the road surface. By preventing the bond, it becomes easier to remove the snow from the roadway. 

The brine is dormant until it comes in contact with precipitation. According to the Salt Institute, anti-icing can reduce the total quantity of salt used during a storm by up to a factor of four.  As with any new technology, Public works staff needs to learn the perfect application rates through test runs and see how the end result works during and after the storm. These are exciting times where technology can provide safer roads for the residents of Richton Park.

Research conducted by the College of Engineering at Montana State University concluded that “Anti-icing and pre-wetting both present a viable option in reducing materials applied to roadways and maintenance costs while providing safer traveling conditions. Both practices also lead to less corrosion and environmental impacts due to snow and ice control operations."

I would like to thank our dedicated staff in the Public Works Department, who will work long days and overnight shifts to plow our Village streets during and after a snow event. Their hard work allows us to be able to get up in the morning at get to our destinations as safely as possible.

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