The City of Sparks will be applying a brine mixture — a solution of water and sodium chloride (road salt) — to roads in advance of winter storms this year, which is better for air quality and proactively protects roadways from potential ice buildup.
“Using brine results in less sand on the roadways, which during ice events becomes pulverized airborne dust and reduces our air quality,” said Ron Korman, fleet and facilities manager for City of Sparks Public Works. “Plus we’ll be getting out in front of storms, because with brine, ice doesn’t have the opportunity to attach itself to asphalt as readily. It starts the melting process earlier and makes it more efficient.”
Once delivered, the mixture lasts on roadways from three to five days without moisture and will melt the lowest level of snow before it binds to the roads. This makes targeted city streets, like main thoroughfares and the roadways around schools and along bus routes, less icy and easier to plow when a storm arrives.
“The brine is not harmful to the asphalt,” Korman said, adding that the brine applicators direct the mixture in a stream to the roadway.
The City received an air quality grant from the Environmental Protection Agency funding brine applicators, the brine production system and containment/storage systems. Five trucks will be online this winter season, delivering the ice-repelling mixture to area roads.
“The important thing for residents to know is this: If you see our trucks out there spraying, please give them some space,” Korman said. “If you’re trying to pass or following too closely, they have to turn on/off the system, which isn’t cost effective or efficient. Let us get out there and do our job — this will result in better roads for all Sparks residents.”