On-site blending of custom brine formulations is a practice that has gained popularity among highway departments and commercial applicators. These brine solutions are most often mixes of sodium chloride, calcium chloride or magnesium chloride, and sometimes corrosion inhibitors, anti-foaming agents, and pavement adhesion/viscosity additives. They can be used for deicing, salt prewetting or anti-icing applications.

A good example is the precision brine mixing system used by the McHenry County Division of Transportation in northern Illinois. The system includes specially designed equipment for storage, brine production, blending, and high-speed loading onto vehicles. It provides fully-automated, highly-accurate blending of mixes that provide more predictable and consistent on-road results. McHenry County uses the system to produce a number of different brine blends for deicing, prewetting and anti-icing. One blend used extensively by the county consists of 80% salt brine, 10% calcium chloride, and 10% sugar beet by-product. County officials believe the sugar beet by-product aids in the adherence of the premixed blend to pavement. McHenry County reports effective performance for this blend at pavement temperatures “at or below two degrees Farenheit”.1

The Ohio Department of Transportation uses automated brine production systems extensively. Some of the counties add up to 10% calcium chloride to their brine mixes.2

1“Blending Liquid Deicing Chemicals Precisely”, R.M. DeVries, APWA Reporter, 2005.
2 “Ohio Department of Transportation Snow & Ice Practices,” Ohio Department of Transportation Division of Operations Office of Maintenance Administration.