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Efficacy, Costs, and Impacts of Non-Chloride Deicers: An Educational Primer and Product Information Sheets

Project #: 4W9689
Start Date: 03/25/2022
End Date: 09/30/2023
ABSTRACT:

The objective of this project was to synthesize available information on non-chloride deicers to allow for a more comprehensive understanding by winter roadway maintenance professionals and allow for easy comparisons between products and with sodium chloride (as salt brine or rock salt). This was accomplished through a literature

search that summarized research on non-chloride deicing products and identified 46 non-chloride deicing products, summarized research on applications of various heated pavement technologies, and summarized research on anti-icing and anti-bonding/water-repellent surface treatments. Two surveys of state and local transportation agencies and vendors and manufacturers of non-chloride deicing products were conducted, respectively. The survey of state and local transportation agencies identified non-chloride products used. An evaluation of the Clear Roads Qualified Products List (QPL) Specification Document and other standards and testing requirements was conducted, which suggests that a wealth of data is collected and available for review of non-chloride deicing products. A deeper evaluation of BOD, COD, nitrogen, phosphorus, cyanide, toxicity, and corrosion is provided, because these are of particular interest when considering non-chloride deicers. Subsequently, we developed educational primers, or two-page fact sheets, for key categories of non-chloride deicers – acetates, formates, glycols, and agro-based that serve as high-level overviews of information on non-chloride deicers that can be used to make informed decision when comparing products to sodium chloride as rock salt or salt brine. This work found non-chloride deicers to be a viable option in winter roadway maintenance operations and many transportation agencies across the country are successfully using these products.

Watch the final project webinar (September 26, 2023) at: https://www.clearroads.org/project/21-03/

OBJECTIVE:

The goal of this project is to synthesize available information on non-chloride deicers to allow for a more comprehensive understanding by winter maintenance professionals and allow for easy comparison between products and with sodium chloride (salt brine, rock salt).

Benefits: Just as chloride-based deicers can have a negative impact on the environment, so can non-chloride-based deicers. Typical impacts observed from non-chloride deicers may include elevated biological or biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD), toxic breakdown products, and impacts pavements and metals. For this reason, it is critical to understand the performance and impacts of deicing products, especially if winter maintenance professionals are considering replacing one for another. This research will provide information to support agencies in their decision making process.

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