Salt has been the mainstay deicer in winter maintenance agencies’ toolboxes for decades. Through research, testing and in-house experimentation, agencies have advanced the state of the practice in how to apply it. That means calibrating spreaders regularly, and using liquid salt brine for anti-icing and prewetting to help reduce application rates and keep the salt on the roadway and out of the environment. Agencies also make use of other chemical blends and additives, including agricultural-based products, for corrosion protection and effective deicing at lower temperatures.
Specifications and Guidance
Clear Roads guidelines, plus a sampling of related state specifications.
- Clear Roads Roadway Salt Best Management Practices Manual
- Clear Roads Effective Salt and Anti-icing Application Rates Guidelines
- Clear Roads Field Guide for Testing Deicing Chemicals
- PNS Qualified Product Listing
- South Dakota
Every year, Clear Roads member states share the results of pilot-testing of winter maintenance products and materials that their agencies have conducted.
- Boost Salt Brine Enhancer Inhibitor (Enviro Tech)
- IceKicker (Saltworx)
- Ice Slicer Deicer
Other Research and Resources
- Salt Management Strategy: Environmental Impacts and Potential Economic Costs and Benefits of Improved Management Practices in Northern Virginia (Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, 2018)
- Field Usage of Alternative Deicers for Snow and Ice Control: A Minnesota DOT Local Road Research Board research synthesis summarizing current options for non-chloride-based deicers, including acetate, formate, glycol, and succinate based deicing products. (Minnesota DOT, 2017)
- Wisconsin DOT Salt Storage Needs Report (2017)
- Operational Factors that Affect Road Salt Usage and the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Salt Spreading Operations and Equipment: Massachusetts DOT conducted a three-year study to evaluate its Snow and Ice Control Program, identify measures that would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its deicer material usage, and reduce material costs. (Massachusetts DOT, 2016)
- Impacts of Using Salt and Salt Brine for Roadway Deicing: A study to better understand the environmental impacts of the use of salt and salt brines. (Idaho Transportation Department, 2014)
- Do Road Salts Cause Environmental Impacts?: A brief literature review of potential environmental problems associated with the use of salt as a deicer. (Maryland DNR, 2013)
- Salt Brine Blending to Optimize Deicing and Anti-Icing Performance (Minnesota DOT, 2012)
- Development of an Improved Agricultural-Based Deicing Product: This research investigated by-products from agricultural processes that may be suitable for use as deicers. (Iowa DOT, 2010)
- Road Salt: Moving Toward the Solution: A Cary Institute report on road salt. (Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, 2010)
- Guidelines for the Selection of Snow and Ice Control Materials to Mitigate Environmental Impacts: NCHRP Report 577. (NCHRP, 2007)
- Manual of Practice for an Effective Anti-icing Program: A Guide For Highway Winter Maintenance Personnel (FHWA, 1996)
- Environmental Impacts of Road Salt and Other De-icing Chemicals: Information from the Minnesota Stormwater Manual
- Pacific Northwest Snowfighters (PNS): An association of transportation agencies dedicated to ensuring the safety of winter maintenance products through structured testing and evaluation.
- Salt Institute: A nonprofit trade association dedicated to advocating the many benefits of salt, particularly to ensure winter roadway safety, quality water and healthy nutrition.