Snow and ice are common challenges that many communities deal with on their roads every year during the winter months. Salt and sand are inexpensive deicers, readily available, easy to apply and effective at melting snow and ice. Having these materials stored close to where they are needed saves time and money. Managers responsible for road salt and sand agree that storage can be a challenge. Safe storage of road salt is imperative. Improper storage, where road salt is exposed to the elements, can pose serious environmental problems. When exposed to water, salt readily dissolves, leading to runoff capable of contaminating surface and groundwater, seeping into soil, and harming animals, plants and humans.
Sand is used in cases where road salt is inefficient at melting ice and snow. Sand functions as an abrasive on roadways with low traffic and is combined with road salt or calcium chloride, so it doesn’t freeze and clog the equipment used for spreading it. There are many challenges to using sand for clearing snow-covered roads. With high traffic, sand tends to pack into the snow and its effectiveness is reduced. Also, large applications of sand on a bare road can lead to the skidding of vehicles. Sand can end up clogging drainage systems or contaminating nearby soil. For these reasons, sand generally has to be collected after use. Because of the drawbacks of using sand, road salt is still the preferred material for clearing roadways of snow and ice.
Proper Storage and Handling Key to Prevent Road Salt Runoff
Historically, road salt was stored outside or in poorly constructed containment systems and would remain largely exposed to precipitation, resulting in loss of the product and serious contamination of the surrounding areas. Here are some of the precautions recommended for proper handling of deicing road salt:
- Make sure the salt is tightly and securely covered when in storage or when being transported
- Use impermeable materials and structures such as concrete, asphalt, and fabric designated for secure storage of road salt
- Designate a contained area for truck loading to keep from contaminating surrounding areas
- Equip the road salt truck with the with flow valves and calibration systems to control the amount spread
- Be sure to clear salt residue off the loading areas, so it is not carried away by runoff
- Keep the road storage facilities well away from water sources such as lakes, wells, rivers, and dams.
- Maintain road salt storage buildings in good condition to ensure there are no leaks that allow runoff water to penetrate the salt storage area.
Effective and Affordable Road Salt Storage Structures from Allsite
Historically, domes, box-style open front bins, silo buildings, metal buildings, and wood frame buildings have been used for the storage of road salt. While each of the storage methods is impermeable and offer reliable cover for the salt, they come with limitations. For instance, a metal building will require constant maintenance given the corrosive nature of salt. Most of these buildings are permanent and cannot be moved as needs change. These permanent structures may be expensive to build and maintain and will require a long construction process.
A practical alternative favored by many communities is a tension fabric structure (TFS). The TFS is weatherproof and impermeable, spacious and a highly affordable solution for road salt storage. Here are ways a tension fabric structure can provide an excellent road salt storage solution for your community’s needs this winter:
- With its rugged aluminum alloy frame, the structure can withstand the harshest climatic conditions, including heat, wind, snow, and ice.
- The TFS is robust, with a high strength-to-weight ratio of aluminum alloy beams and frame to guarantee strength and durability.
- Both the aluminum frame and the treated PVC fabric are corrosion-resistant, making the TFS a good choice for storage of road salt as there is no rusting or deterioration due to contact with the salt.
- Weatherproof and highly durable, the structure requires no foundation and is ideal for virtually any location.
- TFS requires little to no maintenance.
- Highly durable, TFS can be used as temporary structures or utilized for decades of reliable service
The Allsite fabric and aluminum alloy-framed structure comes in a number of different footprints to meet your space and storage needs, with ample interior height for extra storage capacity. Open-span, the TFS contains no internal vertical beams, offering even more room for storage and efficient handling of many tons of road salt. A large entryway, combined with the open span interior design, provide ample space to accommodate large vehicles such as trucks or snow plows, for easy deposit and retrieval of salt stores. The buildings may be reconfigured for other uses, such as maintenance facilities, warehousing, or on construction sites.
Your fabric building road salt storage solution can be leased affordably and can usually be installed within weeks of order. Call today to find out more about how a TFS can solve your road salt storage problems this winter.
For more information regarding our Allsite’s TFS structure, contact or call us at 888-599-5112.