In the winter of 2008-09 the City of Coeur d'Alene purchased and put together a state of the art De-icing Solution Center. This allowed us to blend de-icing products to fit the conditions as needed.
The process that the city is using is quite simple in that most de-icer materials start out with a solution of salt and water. When mixed at a 23% solution the salt will stabilize in a liquid form. (If less salt is added the liquid will freeze quicker and if more is added you do not recieve any more benefit). To combat the corrosiveness in the salt water the street department has added a product called CSB. CSB is the by-product of the extract that is found in the refinement process when sugar is extracted from sugar beets. The CSB product is all natural and is made here in Idaho. We have partnered with the Amalgamated Sugar plant in Nampa Idaho. They have helped tremendously. The CSB product acts on a molecular level with the brine to make it less corrosive.
As temperatures dip below freezing and ice forms on the roads, crews begin to spray de-icer so ice cannot bond to surfaces. This process is very effective and allows operators to plow to bare pavement on Arterial streets
As we refine our process in making de-icer the citizen's of Coeur d'Alene and visitors to the area will less hazardous driving conditions.
Some of the most asked questions are:
1. Why does the city not spray de-icer in the neighborhoods?
Answer-- The easy answer is that there is not enough traffic to make the best use of de-icers. Many de-icer's are exothermic which means that they create heat. As it creates heat the traffic must move the material around as it drives. If there is not enough traffic, the de-icer will melt ice, delute and refreeze. This will leave us with a disadvantage as we plow for now the ice has bonded to the pavement and makes for slicker conditions.
2. How much salt does the City of Coeur d'Alene use in the winter time?
Answer-- The Street Maintenance Department uses minimal amount of salt during the course of winter. We average around 75 tons of salt a year. This includes salt for our de-icers. It takes 1 ton of salt to make 2000 gallons of de-icer.
Salt is just one of our "tools" in the toolbox to fight winter storms