Helping ‘beet’ the streets

It’s not just salts and brines that are being used to treat roads during the winter months but beet juice as well.

We have already seen our fair share of snow and ice this winter here in the “Sunflower State.” Road crews have been tirelessly clearing local streets and highways using snowplows and salt but in the past few years’ beets have become more than just our least favorite vegetable.

The Missouri Department of Transportation uses the beet juice to pre-treat the salt that they use. The mixture is typically 80 percent salt, 20 percent beet juice. This allows the salt to become more effective at lower temperatures.

The city of Topeka uses a blend of salt and organic matter to treat winter roads. This organic matter is actually a combination of beet juice and corn oil.

These organic de-icing methods are relatively new; they’ve only been practical in the past 5 to 10 years.

Commonly used salts like calcium chloride and magnesium chloride eat away at roads and vehicles. Fusing such salts with organic matter is actually better for the road surfaces because less salt is used.

 

 

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