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Web Extra: How to make salt brine

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A shot of salt” from our August Snow & Ice Guide investigates adding salt brine to your deicing arsenal. Read on to learn how to make the liquid yourself, and visit our downloads page for a packet on the basic steps to brine making, provided by Diana Clonch and the Iowa Department of Transportation.

There’s no need to whip out a recipe card to write down the ingredients for salt brine. It’s simple: rock salt and water.

And while municipalities—and some contractors—might pay upward of $30,000 for brine-making systems, many may just as easily make it at home. One of the most important parts of the process is to understand the measurements of water and salt, says Diana Clonch, owner of DW Clonch. (For the more technical details and step-by-step instructions, we direct you to the download at right.)

“The optimum solution for salt brine is 23.3 percent of salt dissolved into water,” Clonch says. “You could put more salt in than 23.3 percent, but it’s not going to depress the freezing point anymore.”

Clonch advises contractors to test the brine with a salometer to ensure it meets that 23.3 percent optimum. She also warns to be attentive to the weight of the solution when storing it.

“Be mindful of the fact that salt brine weighs more than water, a little over 2 pounds on the gallon more,” Clonch adds. “You want to make sure the storage tanks you get are sturdy enough to withstand that additional weight.”

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Sarah Pfledderer

Former Associate Editor Sarah Pfledderer is a West Coast-based contributing editor for Landscape Management.

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