The iconic Morton Salt umbrella girl has warned "When it Rains it Pours" since 1914. The mascot in the yellow dress has had it right for 100 years, and at no time has that been truer than during this year's incredibly tough winter. There's been plenty of salt being poured this season, but for municipalities across the country, there might not be enough of it to keep going. The Associated Press is reporting that the weather across the US has been so cold and snowy that road salt is in alarmingly
Deicing wintry roads is not an inexpensive venture, with The New York Times projecting that the city of Milwaukee spent nearly $6.5 million just on snow removal and salt for deicing. So it's no surprise that some municipalities are looking for cheaper alternatives to the traditional gritters. What the state of Wisconsin has come up with, though, might just take the cake for most innovative salt replacement.
We Americans sure do like our food. Not only does the land of the Red, White and Blue have one of the higher rates of obesity of any industrialized nations, we feed our roads, too. The Missouri Department of Transportation has been solving its road ice problem with the help of beet juice. The product in question, Geomelt, is a sugar beet-based liquid, and according to the Boonville Daily News, MoDOT has increased its use by 700 percent since it was first introduced in the Show Me State in 2006.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Hyundai have initiated recalls on 963,305 vehicles as part of four separate campaigns. The first recall, blanketing over one half million late-model vehicles, is nationwide. The other three recalls, all corrosion-related on older vehicles, are limited to the regions of the country where salt is used to de-ice roads in the winters.
Not long ago, Washington state's Department of Ecology was making noises about not letting people wash their cars at home because "what goes on the street goes into the creek." Now the state is on the opposing side of Seattle's efforts not to let harmful chemicals wash into the freshwater streams feeding into Puget Sound.