Alternative to Road Salt: Liquid Made from Beets

Air Date: 02/24/2008
Source:
NBC News
Creator:
Lester Holt/Kevin Tibbles
Air/Publish Date:
02/24/2008
Event Date:
02/24/2008
Resource Type:
News Report
Copyright:
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
Copyright Date:
2008
Clip Length:
00:02:16

As one answer to a shortage of road salt, researchers have developed an alternative -- a liquid made from beet juice, brine and calcium chloride -- which is cheaper and more environmentally-friendly.

Alternative to Road Salt: Liquid Made from Beets

LESTER HOLT, anchor:

As record snowfalls have piled up in many parts of the country this winter, piles of road salt have been rapidly dwindling; and that's got officials scrambling for alternate ways to keep roads clear and residents on the move. Here's NBC's Kevin Tibbles.

KEVIN TIBBLES, reporting:

It's been a brutal winter with double the average snowfall in many places, and that's left dozens of communities from Maine to Wisconsin in search of the one ingredient they need this time of year more than ever: salt.

Mr. JEFF FIDDLER (Racine, Wisconsin Department of Public Works): Every community probably in the state is looking for salt. So they're trying to dole it out, give everybody a little bit and keep everybody going.

TIBBLES: In 2006, according to the Salt Institute, municipalities spent more than $300 million to spread some 12 million tons of it. This year that figure is expected to be much higher, sapping valuable dollars from towns and businesses already struggling.

Mr. JIM TENBRINK (Earth Service and Supply): I had a guy call me that said a competitor of his bought some salt in at $125 a ton. We couldn't sell salt to these guys for $45 bucks a ton in October.

TIBBLES: But some places have found a solution for the salt shortage, one that melts snow from the the street and even smells sweet. It comes from the beet. In Beloit, Wisconsin, they are using a blend of brine, calcium chloride and beet juice. It's called Geomelt and they say it works.

Ms. CHRISTINE WALSH (Beloit, Wisconsin, Department of Public Works): If a sugar was put with a salt, it would create a synergy, and that is important because that allows that salt to speed up...

TIBBLES: The beet juice concoction also stays on the ground longer, up to seven days. That saves the time, energy and expense of having to repeat applications each time it snows. It also melts at temperatures as cold as 30 below zero, which is better than salt alone. And there's a further green benefit.

Ms. WALSH: It is good for the environment, which means we use less salt. We also have cut our budget because of it.

TIBBLES: The solution, which is more brown than beet red, is spreading; and in a pinch, helping a growing number of communities tackle their salt shortages. And drivers are saying it can't be beat. Kevin Tibbles, NBC News, Chicago.

Close NBC Learn

Choose your product

NBC Learn K-12 product site
NBC Learn Higher Ed product site

For NBC Learn in Learning Management Systems please log in to your institution's Learning Management System web site and click "Browse NBC Learn".
For further assistance, please contact our NBC Learn Support Team and we'll be happy to assist you.

Start Your Free
day
Day Trial!
Close NBC Learn

FILTERING

If you are trying to view the videos from inside a school or university, your IT admin may need to enable streaming on your network. Please see the Internet Filtering section of our Technical Requirements page.

DVDs AND OTHER COPIES

Videos on this page are not available on DVD at this time due to licensing restrictions on the footage.

DOWNLOADING VIDEOS

Subscribers to NBC Learn may download videos and play them back without an internet connection. Please click here to find out more about subscribing or to sign up for a FREE trial (download not included in free trial).

Still have questions?
Click here to send us an email.

Close NBC Learn

INTERNATIONAL VISITORS

The Science of the Olympic Winter Games videos are only available to visitors inside the United States due to licensing restrictions on the Olympics footage used in the videos.

FILTERING

If you are trying to view the videos from inside a school or university, your IT admin may need to enable streaming on your network. Please see the Internet Filtering section of our Technical Requirements page.

DVDs AND OTHER COPIES

The Science of the Olympic Winter Games is not available on DVD at this time due to licensing restrictions on on Olympic footage.

DOWNLOADING VIDEOS

Subscribers to NBC Learn may download videos and play them back without an internet connection. Please click here to find out more about subscribing or to sign up for a FREE trial (download not included in free trial).

Still have questions?
Click here to send us an email.

Close NBC Learn

Choose your product

NBC Learn K-12 product site
NBC Learn Higher Ed product site

For NBC Learn in Blackboard™ please log in to your institution's Blackboard™ web site and click "Browse NBC Learn"

Close NBC Learn

If you have received a new user registration code from your institution, click your product below and use the "Register now" link to sign up for a personal account.

NBC Learn K-12 product site
NBC Learn Higher Ed product site

For further assistance, please contact our NBC Learn Support Team and we'll be happy to assist you.

Start Your Free
day
Day Trial!