Methods to Protect Salt Stockpiles

The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) has recently shifted emphasis in winter maintenance operations from using salt/sand mixtures as a routine procedure to using straight salt, except under conditions where temperatures limit salt's effectiveness where salt/sand mixtures will still be employed for improved traction. This will provide direct benefits both economically and environmentally as the elimination of the sand will allow a significantly longer travel distance for each truck before reloading is necessary and the use of salt alone will reduce issues with PM10 (dust finer than 10 microns), sand residue along bridge rails and siltation from runoff. Currently, the Department has limited enclosed storage for salt with the majority of facilities being outdoor sheds open at one or both ends. These facilities provide sufficient storage capacity but do not provide adequate protection of the salt from moisture and the environment. This may result in severe handling problems due to caking on the exposed salt surfaces. Modifying our existing facilities to provide complete protection would be prohibitively expensive and may not be necessary if technologies can be found to encapsulate the salt without impacting winter operations with regard to handling and deicing practices. Research is needed to look at SDDOT's current salt storage capacity in terms of salt storage vulnerability and potential problems as well as economical methods to protect salt piles within sheds while minimizing handling and environmental concerns. The objectives of this research project are to: (1) assess the capacity and adequacy of SDDOT's existing salt storage facilities and compile a list of facility types and weaknesses; (2) determine the vulnerability of existing storage facilities to the environment prior too and during use as well as all issues involved in their use; (3) establish the best approaches to minimizing any salt storage vulnerabilities during storage across both facility types and weather conditions; and (4)develop guidelines and recommendations for salt storage which will minimize storage, handling and environmental concerns in an economical manner. Research tasks for the project are as follows: (1) Review current literature with respect to salt storage facilities, protection of salt piles exposed to the environment and innovative methods to prevent moisture ingress, caking and salt leaching. (2) Meet with the technical panel to review project scope and work plan. (3) Compile data provided by the Department on salt storage capacity, facility types, distribution, usage patterns (mild, moderate and severe winter conditions), material properties at time of application including handling problems, economic concerns and regional and climatic variations. (4) Conduct interviews with appropriate SDDOT personnel and observe typical salt storage facilities, material handling, environmental exposure, including stormwater runoff, and winter maintenance activities. (5) Develop, distribute and collate a survey of appropriate governmental agencies regarding salt storage, handling, stockpile protection, usage and other operational issues. This survey will be reviewed and approved by the technical panel prior to distribution. (6) Submit an Interim Report to the technical panel summarizing the results of prior work including the survey and outlining any laboratory and field experimental testing required to determine the effectiveness of any promising salt storage protection strategies where environmental exposure may result in handling and leaching problems. (7) Meet with the technical panel to discuss the Interim Report and develop a final testing plan to evaluate strategies to minimize salt storage environmental exposure. (8) Conduct laboratory and field testing as approved in the testing plan to evaluate any salt storage protection strategies. (9) Continue with the facility vulnerability evaluation through the course of both winter maintenance operations and the ensuing delivery and storage of bulk salt for use during the following winter. (10) Summarize the data compiled on SDDOT salt storage capacity, environmental vulnerability based on facility type, potential impacts to the environment and highways and economic impacts of any potential increases or modifications to salt storage infrastructure and procedures. (11) Provide recommendations and guidelines for salt storage protection and handling too minimize both handling and environmental issues. (12) Prepare a final report and executive summary of the research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations. (13) Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board at the conclusion of the project.


    • English


    • Status: Terminated
    • Funding: $80000.00
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      South Dakota Department of Transportation

      700 East Broadway Avenue
      Pierre, SD  United States  57501
    • Project Managers:

      Brueggeman, Pat

    • Start Date: 20090901
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • Source Data: RiP Project 26315

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01461472
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: South Dakota Department of Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: SD2009-09
    • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 1:46PM