PREVIEW: Road chemistry: Brine and beets

Eye on KELOLAND

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Treating roads in KELOLAND during winter storms isn’t just a matter of throwing down some salt and calling it good.

There’s a lot of science involved in the process, long before the trucks even hit the road.  Workers at the South Dakota DOT shop in Sioux Falls carefully combine water with road salt in a mixture that will be used to spray on interstates and other highways.  

The workers need to get the chemistry just right.

“You don’t want to get the salt content too high because then it drops your freeze point and you don’t want your salt level too low because then you’re essentially putting water on the road and you don’t want to do that,” Curt Theisen, with the SD DOT, said. 

Workers prepare the mixture, around-the-clock, in-between snowstorms. 

But soon, the DOT will have a new treatment option.  Find out how, of all things, beets could become the next big thing for de-icing the roads you drive, in Thursday’s Eye On KELOLAND, at 10.

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