Did You Know Deicers Can Be Environmentally Harmful?
Depending on which solution is used, concerns might include it washing down into water stores, damaging plants, creating air particulates, or being harmful to animals. It can also cause damage to home fixtures like wooden steps and may damage asphalt. Even storing deicing solutions is a careful business, since large amounts can leach into soil and seriously affect nearby waterways.
Use Deicers Sparingly
It’s therefore recommended that deicers be used sparingly. Shoveling and plowing regularly can help, and laying down sand or gravel helps traction (not melting). If you lay down sand or gravel, it’s best to sweep it up or otherwise collect it afterward for reuse in the next storm. (Reuse is one of the primary tenets of environmental stewardship, since buying new supplies creates waste in production, packaging, and shipping -- plus reusing saves you money!)
In those rare cases when more powerful deicing solutions are needed, it’s important to shovel and plow first, and then use the least toxic option that's still effective. Salt and sand are the most cost-effective, but calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) is also relatively inexpensive and benign. Potassium acetate (KA) is another fairly benign option that also works at colder temperatures than salt or CMA.
An Environmentally Friendly Mix
The best option in many cases is to use a mix of various deicing agents. At Wolf Paving, we prefer to use a mix of sand and salt, in ratios of 8:1, 4:1, or 1:1 as appropriate. No solution is perfect, but we find this is the best for melting, improving traction, and having the minimal possible impact on the environment.
Need help with deicing in an environmentally friendly way? We’d love to talk with you about your needs. Contact us for a quote today.