Rainwater for Brine – Did You Know
Did you know it’s possible to harvest rainwater and turn it into brine for anti-icing pavement? Clintar is considering this eco-friendly practice as a sustainable option to complement our existing brine and ice control practices.
Brine is basically salt (often sodium chloride) dissolved in water, which can be proactively applied to roads and walkways before a storm hits to prevent snow and ice from bonding to the surface. Brine’s freezing point is lower than water, so it stops the snow and ice from adhering to roads, parking lots,and walkways. It works in temperatures as low as -21 °C. De-icing is a bit different. This other popular method uses rock salt to break up snow and ice after it’s frozen. Anti-icing with brine significantly reduces salt usage (compared to the amount of rock salt employed for de-icing).
When our commercial team returns to service a property after a big storm, the job of clearing the snow and getting down-to-the-pavement results is much easier when brine has been used as a pre-treatment. Anti-icing measures can be an economical way to lower your winter services budget, and quite prudent in the face of a predicted salt shortage. Thanks to its ability to adhere, brine reduces salt runoff significantly (compared to de-icing) and can reduce the amount of salt from getting into waterways where it can do damage to aquatic life and plants.
With this environmental consideration in mind, we’re striving to reduce overall salt usage and maximize it’s efficacy when it needs to be used for extreme weather.
How Brine is Made
To be truly effective, making brine is a bit more complex than heaping salt into water and waiting for it to dissolve. We use a computerized brine maker, and load the salt in the top of the machine, where it goes into a mill. It gets blended with the right amount of water until the salt to water ratio is just right. The solution is then discharged into a storage tank. We can adjust ratios precisely according to exact weather and snow events for maximum effectiveness.
Using rain barrels to collect water for irrigation is growing in popularity, both residentially and commercially. Going forward, harvesting rainwater may just be the next important step for making sustainable brine too. For property managers, some of the practical considerations when thinking about the viability of rainwater for brine will include the total area of your roof, the capacity to install multiple rain barrels, and the total volume of brine that would be required to adequately service your grounds.
If you’d be interested in learning more about this pro-active and sustainable approach to snow and ice management, let us know.