For Immediate Release: June 18, 2018
Jorge Amselle: Jorge@saltinstitute.org
Park City, Utah—Winter maintenance officials, researchers and experts will gather this week at the 2018 World Salt Symposium to discuss new technology and the latest research on road salt. Every winter, more than 116,000 Americans are injured and over 1,300 are killed on snowy, slushy or icy pavement, making winter maintenance a priority in over 70 percent of the country. Studies have shown that deicing roads with salt reduces accidents by 88 percent and injuries by 85 percent, saving lives.
“The industry went from essentially having a worker with a shovel in the back of a truck applying salt manually to the road, to an extremely precise computerized dispensing system with incredible capabilities that incorporate ground speed, automatic vehicle location, different material types and data recording,” said Mark DeVries, an application expert for Vaisala Inc. “To run an efficient and sustainable winter maintenance program, agencies need to make educated choices regarding when and how to treat their roadways. This will improve operations, reduce costs and minimize environmental impacts.” DeVries is also the Past-Chairman of the National APWA Winter Maintenance Sub-Committee.
Bret Hodne, Director of Public Works for the City of West Des Moines, made clear that better management has bottom line benefits for taxpayers, too. “We have decreased per-storm maintenance costs by between 30 and 50 percent while providing an improved level of service to our community.”
Other presenters included S. Jiang of Akzo Nobel, on new biodegradable and safer agents for treating roadways. Jan Olek of Purdue University and Compass Minerals presented research on how new deicer formulations can protect infrastructure.
New technology is benefitting local streets, highway agencies, and increasing the safety of winter roads and their travel ease. Road salt also saves money. When snow and ice cause treacherous roads, it can cost state economies as much as $700 million a day. In total, road salt deicing pays for itself in just 25 minutes.
The World Salt Symposium has been held periodically since 1962 and represents an international gathering of salt producers, researchers, journalists, business leaders and academics from all regions of the globe. It is the most comprehensive and important meeting on the subject of salt. The 2018 10th World Salt Symposium is being hosted by the Salt Institute.
The Salt Institute is a North American based non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing the many benefits of salt, particularly to ensure winter roadway safety, quality water and healthy nutrition.