Russalt: world experience in the use of salt to combat ice


Pure technical salt without impurities as an anti-icing measure has been successfully used for more than a dozen years both in Russia with its severe frosts and in many countries of the world. What methods are relevant today for cleaning roads and sidewalks in the winter are discussed these days by the participants of the St. Petersburg International Road Forum. The Russalt Company, the largest producer of edible and technical salt in Russia, is taking part in the forum.

Speaking in St. Petersburg, Alexei Bulychev, commercial director of Russalt , said that Russian public utilities are not the main consumers of industrial salt in the world. The TOP-7 leading countries in the use of pure salt as de-icing materials are: USA (20 million tons/year), Canada (5 million tons/year), Germany (2.5 million tons/year), France (1 million tons /year), South Korea (0.7 million tons/year), Norway (0.5 million tons/year) and Poland (0.46 million tons/year). And the use of salt without impurities shows its high efficiency for quite a long time.

According to Russalt, in our country, road industry enterprises use 3.5-3.8 million tons of technical salt in winter, depending on how snowy the winter was during the season. But there is a big difference between how salt is used here and abroad.

The experience of the USSR is no longer relevant

In Europe and the USA, pure salt is mainly used or in combination with chemical reagents. In Russia, the process is reduced in cost by using a sand-salt mixture. Aleksey Bulychev noted that this is still the Soviet experience in dealing with ice, which “does not take into account modern requirements for a comfortable urban environment, for the quality and purity of the surrounding air and the environment in general.”

Nowadays, more advanced methods of combating slipperiness on the roads are available, using both technical salt without impurities, and in combination with NaCl-based chemicals. The quality of halite and the use of innovative developments play an important role. Such experience is being actively implemented in the capital, as well as in a number of regions of Russia – the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Tyumen, Tula, Rostov and Orenburg regions. Interestingly, the owners of toll roads in Russia were among the first to adopt these methods.

Salt damage to soil is exaggerated

Speaking at the forum, an industry expert dispelled the myth that salt used as an anti-icing measure pollutes soils, water bodies, and harms city lawns. There is no scientifically proven explanation for this. As for the availability of raw materials in the country, Aleksey Bulychev noted that salt in domestic deposits can be mined in the same volumes for no less than 800 years.