Here Are 3 Potential Alternatives to Using Road Salt in Michigan
A recent study has discovered high levels of chloride in Michigan's waterways.
Chloride, a compound found in the salt used on Michigan's roadways, has (perhaps not surprisingly) found its way into Michigan's waters. Why? It has nowhere else to go.
The study, known as Salt Watch, was conducted by the Izaak Walton League of America. Volunteers collect water samples and send out test kits to those wanting to find the levels of salt in their local waterways across the Midwest. Their findings are then shared on an interactive map that you can find here.
As you can see, the Detroit area's salt concentration is a bit higher than other areas of the state:
From what I understand, the numerous roadways in the area and Michigan's fluctuating weather are to blame for the Detroit area's high salt levels. You can read more here.
Are There Alternatives to Road Salt?
Aside from environmental impacts, road salt can also be dangerous to our pets (and wildlife, too). The salt can, potentially, cause cracked pads that are painful. And, should the dog or cat ingest the salt by licking their paws, it could cause an upset stomach or vomiting. Read more here.
Understandably, more and more people are wondering if there could be an alternative to road salt to de-ice our roadways.
The quick answer is, yes!
According to tomsofmain.com, there are at least three:
1. Sugar Beet Juice
Apparently, this is already being used as an alternative de-icing agent in other states. Beet juice has been found to be 99% biodegradable, is less damaging to driveways and roadways, and can be mixed with sugar to be more effective. And, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation, the cost of beet juice is relatively the same as calcium.
2. Calcium magnesium acetate
Calcium magnesium acetate, or CMA, can actually be found in most stores or online through suppliers like Amazon. There was a study, albeit a bit old, that concluded that CMA was as effective as road salt but not harmful to the environment.
It is more expensive than road salt which may explain why it hasn't been utilized on a city-wide or state-wide scale.
While it can be used as an alternative, there is still some debate about the effectiveness of sand as a de-icer on roadways. Yes, it provides traction but, does little to actually melt the ice on the roadways. However, it is cost-effective and does less damage to vehicles. Read more here.
For now, especially due to budgets, we may be stuck using salt to clear our roadways during the frigid months in Michigan. And with it, the endless roadway construction. Ugh.
Should you decide to venture out and brave the pot-hole-filled roads in Michigan, make sure you check these out: