When sidewalks and parking lots get slippery, the first thing many commercial property owners think about is salt. But don’t sell yourself short!
There’s another tool in the winter toolbox that we like to suggest and that’s BRINE.
How to Make Brine Solution
Here at emi, we make our own brine. It’s a little bit scientific, but when it comes down to it, it’s not that complicated of a process.
Simply put, we take tons of salt, dump it in a big hopper, and pump water through it. We keep circulating water through it, and eventually, the salt dissolves into a solution.
The process continues until we reach 23.3% salinity, and then we pump it out into holding tanks for use in the winter months.
Does Brine Replace Salt?
In our Pennsylvania climate, brine does not replace granular salt completely for dealing with snow and ice.
Brine is a great way to pretreat pavement and sidewalks – an approach known as “anti-icing” – and it keeps commercial sites safe by preventing snow from bonding to the pavement and sidewalks.
The big difference is, that it won’t melt as much snow as granular salt, but it creates a safe environment by having a moist, wet layer underneath a snowfall, rather than a slick, icy one.
As a bonus, it also makes heavy plowing and cleanup easier.
Benefits of Using Brine During Snow Events
One of the biggest benefits of using brine is that it can reduce chloride loads on your property by as much as 75%. This is because liquid stays where we apply it. It’s much less likely to bounce, scatter or blow away in the wind than rock salt.
Brine also seeps into the pores and cracks of the concrete and asphalt so it’s less prone to being plowed off into the turf and landscaping. This helps prevent the winter kill of turf, shrubs, and trees. It also reduces the pollution of retention ponds.
In addition, we use an additive in our brine, Amp by Envirotech, which reduces the corrosion levels of our brine to 80% less than rock salt. This helps protect your commercial property’s infrastructure from corrosion, including concrete/asphalt, light poles, signposts, turf, landscaping, door jams, building facades, and any structural steel and piping that may be above or below grade.
At emi we know that it only takes 1 teaspoon of salt – about what your favorite fast food restaurant uses on a batch of French fries – to permanently pollute 5 gallons of fresh water! We are doing our part to reduce pollution while also protecting the investment you make in your property.
Keeping Your Property Clean
There’s another benefit that makes sense for commercial properties.
We all know the feeling of walking through the snow and ice, then coming indoors. As much as you wipe your feet on the mat, salt still gets tracked everywhere throughout the building!
Granular salt is a necessity, but when it gets tracked in on people’s shoes – it can corrode doorways, damage flooring, and leave employees with a daily mess to clean up.
By using brine, it’s a lot safer and gentler on commercial infrastructure. Brine isn’t as present and when it dries, it’s not as obvious as the granular salt most people are used to.
How to Apply Brine on Pavements & Equipment Used
Now here’s where we get to geek out on our toys!
Here at emi, we run a lot of different types of equipment to apply brine.
We have about 20 Snowrators by Boss, which have a brine spray system built into them. They’re pretty innovative machines because we can plow and spray from the same machine helping us save time and move quickly during winter weather events. We got nerdy here and also modified Boss’s existing system with the proper tips for a correct application rate and an even spray pattern.
For even tighter spaces that the Snowrators can’t get into, we dispatch a VSI Sidewalk Slayer, which is a spray unit with a long hose. This is perfect, for example, on a site where there are a lot of little, short sidewalks and curbs.
Finally, we also have a VSI Genesis 110E, which has a 48-inch spay bar. We equipped a fancy v-plow on it and it can spray right behind with our 110-gallon sprayer. Plowing and spraying at the same time – this makes our fleet elite!
Moving on to the big guns!
For large pavement areas like parking lots, streets, or loading bays, we have a 500, 750, and two 1,000 Legacy Series brine sprayers equipped on our trucks.
All of our trucks are fitted with an 8-foot spray bar on the back and, in addition to that, nozzles on each side, which have an additional 8-foot radius – allowing us to spray about 24 feet outward at any time. We also have a hose reel on all our trucks, so if our driver is out doing a parking lot and sees a slippery sidewalk area, he can get out and spot treat that area.
Now that’s efficiency!
De-Icing, Snow Plowing, and Winter Services in Macungie PA
If there’s anything we’ve learned over the years of being a snow removal company here in Pennsylvania, it’s that no snow event is the same. There are different application rates depending on what we’re doing – pre-treating or post-treating.
As we said in the intro, brine is an added tool in our winter toolbox to keep our commercial properties safe in all inclement weather.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can use brine to make your property even more winter-ready this season, contact us today!