It’s Time to Start Thinking About Your Winter Deicing / Anti-Icing Plan. Calcium Chloride w/BOOST Can Help.

Great Lakes Chloride, Inc. (GLC) is the Midwest supplier of Calcium Chloride with BOOST™ (BOOST), a corrosion inhibited calcium chloride product listed on the Pacific Northwest Snowfighters (PNS) Qualified Products List (www.wsdot.wa.gov/partners/pns/). To be endorsed by the PNS, a product must be submitted to their strict testing protocols.  A product will only be approved by the PNS after passing those standardized tests.  It should be noted that the PNS is considered the “Better Business Bureau” of deicing chemicals.  Some beet juice vendors have been making claims that GLC would like to clarify.

MYTH 1: Beet juice products “meet or exceed PNS specifications”.

  • Although “meet or exceeds PNS specifications” and “on PNS Qualified Product List” sound very similar, there is a very real difference.  In fact, with the exception of the PNS Experimental Category, there currently are no beet juice based products listed on the PNS Qualified Product List.

MYTH 2: Beet juice products are used by state DOT’s.

  • While there has been some limited use of beet juice products by state DOT’s in the tri-state region (Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio), beet juice products have not been approved for use on recent DOT bids which specify the product must be on the PNS Qualified Products List.  All three of these states are currently using BOOST.

MYTH 3: Beet juice products are environmentally safe.

  • According to Stormwater magazine, beet juice products may have a high phosphorus level. Relatively small amounts of phosphorus can have a drastic adverse affect on aquatic ecosystems.  One consequence has led to recent recommendations from lake associations that lawn fertilizer applied at lake front homes be phosphorus free.  Another issue may be an increase in biological oxygen demand (BOD) from run off of beet juice products into the receiving waters.   As the unrefined organic material from beet juice breaks down in a body of water, oxygen is consumed.  This increase in BOD can produce low oxygen conditions in these waters.  Environments most likely to be affected are pools, wetlands, and small lakes.

MYTH 4: Beet juice added to liquid chloride of choice lowers corrosion.

  • Beet juice vendors claim their corrosion test results show that when beet juice is added to sodium chloride brine corrosiveness is reduced 50% (+/-).  PNS testing found the corrosion rate effectiveness of BOOST to be at a minimum 80% less corrosive than sodium chloride (rock salt).

MYTH 5: Beet juice products reduce chloride use.

  • Some beet juice product vendors make this claim on the one hand, but recommend some of the highest application rates (up to 60 gallons per lane mile) on the other hand.  Combine this with their recommended blend rate of 1 part beet juice to 1 part liquid chloride (also one of the highest suggested) and you end up with up to 60 gallons of chloride per mile.  Our recommended rate for BOOST application is as low as 15 gallons per lane mile.

MYTH 6: Beet juice products provide monetary savings.

  • In fact, at recently quoted prices of over $2.00 per gallon, beet juice products are more than twice the cost of BOOST.  Additionally, beet juice products when mixed with sodium chloride brine have nearly 40% less active ingredient than BOOST (23% vs. 32%).  When PRICE and PERFORMANCE are evaluated, BOOST is by far the better option.

MYTH 7: Calcium chloride based products will soon be limited or banned from use as deicers.

  • This could not be farther from the truth.  In fact, calcium chloride has been in use for over 100 years.  GLC’s calcium chloride originates from an underground ocean of natural brine beneath northwestern Michigan.  It then is processed and concentrated.  Calcium chloride is widely used for dust control and base stabilization.  It is also used in many food products such as olives, pickles, bottled water, canned potatoes, sugar-free jelly, to name a few.  Of note, it is also used as an actual component in many plant fertilizer blends.

GLC previously marketed a corrosion-inhibited calcium chloride that utilized beet juice as the inhibitor.  Due to problems with quality and consistency of the beet juice additive, the product was discontinued.  GLC then moved on to the next generation of corrosion-inhibited calcium chloride, BOOST, a product that exhibits both high quality and consistent performance.

We hope this allows you to better evaluate the liquid products that you use to battle ice and snow.  It is GLC’s intention to offer you one of the best liquid deicers on the market today, BOOST, (http://www.glchloride.com) at a competitive price.

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About Dave Budd

Vice President of Product Development and Marketing, Great Lakes Chloride, Inc. Serving Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky. Retired Michigan DOT, October 2010 after 32 years experience in Maintenance/Operations. Specializing in winter operations and liquid de-icers and anti-icers.
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