The Grounds Team Aims to Reduce Snow & Ice Accumulation on Campus Walkways

Pre-treating sidewalks and steps with a liquid agent in advance of forecasted precipitation might seem counterintuitive, but the solution derived from the remnants in the process of wet milling corn has proven effective in thwarting the formation of ice.

On campus we use two types of ice control: de-icing, which is applied after the fact; and the anti-icing pre-treatment. The anti-icing solution can be applied 12-48 hours in advance of a snow event, provided the sidewalks are relatively dry with a temperature above 15 degrees.  So, if snowfall is expected overnight, the Grounds Team can pre-treat critical areas prior to leaving campus for the day.

The main goal is to reduce the amount of salt used on campus and to slow the bonding of snow and ice to the hard-scape surfaces. This preventative process protects against ice formation but uses only one-quarter of the salt normally used. Also, the properties of the solution make it less corrosive than salt, with less impact on plants and hardscape surfaces. This form of liquid ice control has been in use for over 20 years. While there was a lot of skepticism at first, materials and methods have improved to the point that its become more effective and more widely used.  

This program is one of many tools in the Grounds Team toolbox to respond to snow events.  But in the end, it comes down to hard work and long hours to keep our campus operating 24/7.

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Kevin Rice:

Posted: November 10, 2021