City tries out new de-icing compound

The city of Williams Lake is trying out a new de-icing compound called Beet 55 that gives city streets a unique hue. - Monica Lamb-Yorski photo
The city of Williams Lake is trying out a new de-icing compound called Beet 55 that gives city streets a unique hue.
— image credit: Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

What looks like brown sugar sprinkled on the streets of Williams Lake is actually a new de-icing compound the city is trying out, said the city’s director of municipal services, Kevin Goldfuss.

“I like what I see so far. I hope to test it out for the rest of the season and will make a report to city council at the end whether it’s something we should continue using in the future.”

The compound, Beet 55, is a mixture of 60 per cent salt brine and 40 per cent beet concentrate.

It is 15 per cent less corrosive than magnesium chloride liquid, which the city has used for at least 10 years.

The compound has a freezing point of approximately -20 C.

Goldfuss said it comes in liquid form and is sprayed using the city’s de-icing truck.

Before Christmas he received a batch and has a second order coming next week.

When applied, Beet 55 delays or prevents the formation of a bond between the road surface and snow accumulation.

It helps quicken the elimination of frost and ice formed on the road surface and creates greater efficiencies for clearing snow down to the road surface.

Goldfuss first learned about Beet 55 from VSA Highway Maintenance who had been using it in Merritt on local highway systems since 2010.

“The more I researched I learned it is also being used in the Midwestern United States and in Eastern Canada,” he said.

Another advantage is the fact Beet 55 is less expensive than magnesium chloride.

Beet 55 is not harmful to pets or humans, however it is not suitable for human or pet consumption.

As with any salt product the public needs to be aware that if the salt brine gets on the paws of dogs that it should be washed off ASAP.

“This will prevent your pet from licking at the product and will prevent unnecessary discomfort should your pet have a open sore or wound,” Goldfuss said. “You know what it’s like when we get salt on our hands. It doesn’t feel that great.”

When asked about its thickness, Goldfuss said it’s a bit thicker than water.

“To me it smells like a tootsie roll,” he chuckled.


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