Pre-wet salting saving money, time, environment
RAPID CITY, S.D. – With winter now well under way, you may have seen some salt and plow trucks sporting some new fluid tanks in Rapid City.
The tanks are full of liquid magnesium chloride and are part of a pre-wet salting system that the Rapid City Public Works Department is using for the first time this winter season.
The system works by spraying the liquid onto the rock salt as it passes through the spreader. The idea is to help the salt stick more easily to the road surface, preventing it from bouncing off the road. The liquid also helps the salt take effect more quickly, providing a wet interface between the salt crystals and the snow.
The department has equipped 13 of its 32 trucks with the system so far.
Dale Pfeifle, street superintendent with Rapid City Public Works, said that the pre-wet salting system has multiple benefits.
“They say you can use up to between 30 to 40 percent less (salt),” Pfeifle said. “You’ll get less of it bouncing and blowing off the roads into the gutter lines where it’s not doing anybody any good. And it makes the salt work right away instead of waiting for traffic to push it down into the snow.”
Pfeifle also pointed out that reduced salt usage means less chemical runoff into rivers and lakes.