We use a lot of salt, along with sand, for de-icing our roads when the weather gets slippery, and this widespread use of salt has some serious environmental impacts. That’s why Suffield’s Highway Department is looking into a product called Ice Chip. Ice Chip, developed by a Windsor Locks entrepreneur, Joe Rouleau, is a plant-based product which is supposed to leave nothing behind to damage the environment.
Salt rusts out our cars, as well as bridges and railroads. It damages plant life along the roads, is bad for pets who eat it or walk on it, and the run-off is especially problematic for wetland areas and aquifers, destroying aquatic life.
Why do we use it? Well, it works. It’s very effective at de-icing and it’s cheap.
Rouleau’s company, Ice Chip International, has spent the last eight years developing an alternative to salt, which is comprised of mulch, sugar, molasses, beer by-products and juices from beets and corn, with a specially formulated brine to create a mixture, for which he applied for a patent. According to Rouleau, Ice Chip is cheaper and lighter, which means trucks can carry more material.
Mark Cervione, Suffield’s Highway Foreman, said the road crews will be testing it very soon in some parking lots to see how it compares to traditional treatments.