Calcium Magnesium Acetate for Ice Melting: Clearing the Roads

Black Snow Plow with Yellow Plow

Road salts are known to be safe and effective for use on driveways, walkways, and stairs to improve traction and melt ice and snow. However, regular sodium chloride road salts are increasingly recognized as potentially damaging to infrastructure and the environment when used in commercial and DOT applications. They are corrosive to metals in highway structures (bridges, overpasses, guard rails, etc.) and can increase the concentration of sodium in drinking and irrigation waters, leading to negative health effects and potential crop growth issues when used in excess. For these reasons, governments, military installations, transportation agencies, universities, and property management firms require the use of Calcium Magnesium Acetate for ice melting…

The Calcium Magnesium Acetate Solution to Ice Melt

Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) is a multi-purpose, low-corrosion, concrete-safe alternative to popular sodium chloride deicers. It is environmentally benign and fully biodegradable. It requires fewer applications than other deicers and can be used as either a solid (like road salts) or liquid. It prevents ice and snow from bonding to either surfaces or itself (snow-packing). It is the only deicer to be proven to prevent spalling in concrete caused by the freeze-thaw cycle.

When to Apply Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA)

Calcium Magnesium Acetate deicer should be applied early in a storm to prevent snow and ice bonding, except in the case of bridges, which should ideally be treated prior to the storm when possible with liquid CMA. Effectiveness is enhanced by multiple factors including sunlight, traffic, and warmer temperatures. Rather than forming a brine like road salts, CMA remains on the surface and makes snow drier and lighter, greatly improving the ease of removal by plow or shovel.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate application needs can vary slightly according to climate, location, and maintenance practices. CMA should be applied at a similar rate to road salts, though heavier in the first application and lighter as difficult weather continues.

Typical Calcium Magnesium Acetate application rates:

  • 300 to 400 pounds per lane mile
  • 15 to 20 pounds per thousand square feet
  • 20 to 40 grams per square meter

CMA biodegrades into CO2 and H2O and is non-toxic to aquatic life. Calcium and magnesium actually benefit most soils by making them more permeable, and do not contaminate ground-water.

For more information on the benefits and application of Calcium Magnesium Acetate ice melt, please contact us at Snow & Ice Salt & Chemicals Unlimited, LLC.