Ice Melt – A revolution in de-icing

Dealing with icy paths and driveways is a fact of life in the UK where snow and icy conditions are common. There are many different ways to deal with ice, whether using one of many chemical compounds to melt it or using more environmentally friendly products to provide traction and prevent slippage. Today we look at Ice Melt which is a modern alternative to rock salt and has proved to be more effective in melting ice.

Here are some features of Ice Melt:

  • Keeps an area de-iced for up to 24 hours
  • Is less corrosive to metal and concrete.
  • Less environmental impact than rock salt
  • Covers up to 6 times the area rock salt can cover.

So what it made of….basically it is calcium chloride (very concentrated salt) which like most other de-icers attract moisture to themselves to form a liquid brine which generates heat and melts ice. Due to its concentration of salt it more powerful than traditional rock salt, but surprisingly less harmful to wildlife and shrubbery

Ice melt is commonly used at airports to ensure constant de-icing of runways, more recently it has become more widely used commercially and domestically. Although Ice Melt is a little more expensive per kilo than rock salt, it does cover an area 6 times larger than the same amount of rock salt could.

As always, use de-icer responsibly and safely, here a few precautions to take when applying de-icing salts.

  • Do not over apply, follow all instructions on the label.
  • Wear gloves. Ice melts are an irritant.
  • Clear snow first. Don’t try and melt everything!
  • Do not use on new concrete that has not fully cured.
  • All products have some harmful effect on the environment. Flush area with water if over-used.

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS)

Increased building and landscaping and recent extreme weather has caused problems with flash flooding after sudden rainfall. As areas of green land are replaced by concrete or tarmac the area loses its ability to absorb rainwater. The rain is directed into surface water drainage systems, causing overloading and floods

Conventional drainage systems are proving inadequate because they can cause flooding, pollution of the environment and contamination of sources used to provide drinking water.

SUDS are designed to replicate natural systems that reduce environmental impact to drain away surface water which is then collected, stored, and cleaned before being released slowly back into the environment. This method is not just kinder to our environment it also has financial benefits too as the collected water can be reused. .

In 2011 the SUDS standards were introduced to encourage the use of sustainable drainage, in some cases planning permission would not be granted unless a SUDS were proposed to be used.

The SUDS system aims to minimise or eliminate discharges from the site, thus reducing the environmental impact, the idea being that if all development sites incorporated SUDS then sewer flooding would be less of a problem. Unlike traditional urban drainage systems, SUDS can also help to protect and enhance ground water quality.

On option for developers to comply with legislation is to use resin bound paving. Resin bound paving is a fully permeable (porous) and allows water to freely drain through the surface. Meeting the requirements of Sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) standards, this helps to prevent standing water and largely eliminates surface water runoff.