By John Crooks
So February was a very busy month for those who plow snow with one big obstacle – where to get that road salt. Seems that everyone but the state and towns are unable to purchase road salt due to ships being directed down south so the southern states could deal with all the ice they where getting. Put everyone in a tough situation here in New Hampshire of how to deal with the ice on client’s roads, parking lots and driveways.
Everyone had to stretch the salt they had and convert to other products to get them through the crisis. I heard folks telling how they were going to convert to sand/salt mix or sand only to get by. Others spoke of going to New York and New Jersey to get their salt supply. We here at John’s Landscaping of Madbury, NH became certified Green SnowPros a couple of years ago and were taught how to make and use liquids as a pretreatment. This has been helpful in our winter services and this year it seems to be the only way we can control icy situations and keep our clients happy. It allows us to control where we apply our material and continues to work for two to three plowings and can be applied days in advance if needed, though it is better to apply just before it snows.
Plowing where salt has been applied simply pushes it aside, but with the liquid it stays there and continues to work after plowing. You can apply liquid to your sand/salt mix and salt, which allows it to work at lower temperatures. Some companies are coming up with liquid applicators that you can purchase that work in conjunction with sanders as well as stand alone units. Others are selling their own blend of brine to use in those liquid applicators.
The course we took taught us how to make our own brine making station as well as an application system for our truck. We also learned how to test our product to ensure it’s mixed properly. We can make the brine in advance and have it ready and waiting for application. The course went over proper materials to use depending on the surface temperature at the time of application, how to calibrate sanders and liquid applicators, and many other ways to ensure our company is doing its share to protect the environment.
Many of the towns are using liquids to help them battle the storms as well. If you have not become certified and want to learn more about liquids contact UNH Technology Transfer Center in Durham. They have courses set up to get certified as a Green SnowPro. Contact them at www.t2.unh.edu for upcoming course dates, times and locations.