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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

NMU introduces anti-icing liquid


As winter in Marquette continues, NMU’s grounds department has added another method of deicing sidewalks under its belt, called an anti-icing liquid.

Salt only is effective in its liquid form, grounds department supervisor Andy Smith said, adding that the only way for salt to actively melt more ice is when it melds with water.

The liquid is 23.3 percent salt by volume, which is seven times more salty than seawater, Smith said. Its purpose is so the ice doesn’t directly bond with the pavement.

“If we apply that to walkways and roadways before we have a snow event, it creates a barrier that prevents snow or frost from freezing to the pavement, which makes scraping the sidewalks easier,” Smith said.

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The brine solution has been around for a few years, but this is the first time NMU has tried it, Smith said. There are different uses for liquid ice control, and NMU took the proactive approach, which means putting the liquid down before the event, he said.

“It’s another tool in our toolbox to keep campus safe,” Smith said.

The grounds department has not used the solution yet, because there are certain parameters that must be met when using this kind of solution. Snow events cannot be proceeded by rain, which is much of what Marquette is experiencing weather-wise. The rain would dilute the liquid, making it less effective, Smith said.

The pavement temperature also needs to be above 15 degrees and remain there for roughly 12 hours. The grounds department takes pavement temperature prior to putting down any kind of liquid, Smith said.

“I’m hoping to use some here in the next week or two,” Smith said. “Unfortunately, the way precipitation has been lined up lately, it’s starting out as freezing drizzle or rain and then changing over to snow, which is not a good application for the product.”

Overall, Smith said the new anti-icing liquids should keep NMU’s sidewalks cleaner.

Getting an inch of snow isn’t enough for the snowplows to scrape off, and rather they glaze over the snow, Smith said. When students go to and from class, they pack down the inch of snow which turns into about an eighth of an inch of ice, he added, and the ice sticks to the sidewalk. Anti-icing will prevent this scenario, Smith said.

Smith said he and his team will concentrate the new liquid in places with heavy foot traffic, such as the entrances around the dorms and the hill from The Woods to Harden Hall, the new name for the LRC.

“That’s our number one goal. We don’t want anyone to slip and fall and have a tough time getting to and from class,” Smith said.

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