Putting on the white stuff

THIS autumn and winter have been notably wet and, as we mop up once again after a prolonged downpour overnight, it feels like it will never stop raining.

However, the long-range forecast is predicting high pressure in the south heralding a return to more settled conditions from mid-January. With bright or sunny spells during the day, the Met Office forecasters are warning of the increasing likelihood of fog and frost patches forming overnight in southern and central areas as the weather turns colder.

It seems a good time to give some thought to the key ingredient Gloucestershire Gritting uses to keep its customers’ sites open for business during cold spells.

The White Stuff in our case is marine salt harvested from sustainable sources around the Mediterranean Sea.

Nearly all pure sodium chloride, marine salt is our preferred de-icer because:

  • It is very effective down to temperatures of minus 10° Celsius.
  • It does not leave behind a messy residue like traditional brown salt (grit) making it perfect for pathways, pavements and commercial estates where cleanliness is important.
  • With a purity level of almost 100% sodium chloride, every particle plays a part in the de-icing process.
  • It is graded particle sizes for even distribution.
  • Free flowing, it is ideal for use in our towed spreaders.
  • Our salt conforms to BS3247:2011, the British Standard for de-icing salt.

When snow or ice is forecast and gritting triggered, we apply a pre-treatment of the marine salt onto the agreed gritting area by spreader or by hand. The moisture in the air will be attracted to the salt and will combine with it, lowering the freezing temperature of the water and preventing ice from forming.

If snow arrives and falls upon a surface pre-treated with a de-icer, the snow will not bond as easily to the road surface and will be much simpler to mechanically remove with a shovel or snow-plough.

This is the most efficient and effective way to spread salt to de-ice. If it is applied after the ice forms or after snow, the snow and ice will have to be moved before applying high quantities of the salt to melt the accumulated snow and ice – which is both uneconomical and detrimental to the surrounding environment.

To find out more, contact John on 07970 946329 or email John@gloucestershiregritting.co.uk for a free, no-obligation site visit and quote.