Here in New Hampshire, we are used to long, hard winters that come with lots of snow and ice. Sometimes the snow may only be a few inches, but other times several feet of snow and a thick layer of ice may end up on our doorstep. If you have a commercial or business property, you know that keeping snow off your sidewalks and out of your parking lot can be a difficult, labor, and time-intensive task. Investing in a commercial snow-plowing service can save you a lot of time and headaches. However, you want to be sure you invest in a company that is trained and certified in the proper techniques of snow removal for the safety of you, your clients, and New Hampshire.
Salt and other chemicals used for snow removal can be damaging to your property, vehicles, the environment, and even our local waterways. You want a company that stays up to date on the latest industry trends and science and utilizes only the safest, most effective methods to monitor their impact on the environment, pets, and humans. Why is this so important? Follow along as Alliance Landscaping explains the importance of hiring a certified snow removal company.
When we think of salt used on our driveways, roads, and sidewalks for deicing, the term road salt comes to mind. But unless you own your own commercial snow removal company, do you know what elements salt is made from? Let’s take a look. Various types of salts can be used to melt snow, including the most common known as sodium chloride. We’ve all seen the commercial or county snow trucks driving down the road with the dark green pebbles emanating from the back of the truck. This is most likely sodium chloride. Pre-wetting agents are used in addition to the salt to help reduce the amount of salt required. Other types include magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, and potassium chloride.
Back in 2006, the state of New Hampshire began the Interstate 93 (1-93) widening project. During its inception, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) conducted an environmental study on local waterways. Four watersheds, including Beaver Brook, Dinsmore Brook, Policy Brook, and a tributary to Canobie Lake, were identified as having elevated chloride levels. The elevated levels were high enough to be considered harmful. Elevated levels of chloride have also been found in the local groundwater, wetlands, and ponds.
At this time, the Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) determined that a need to reduce the amount of salt used on parking lots, driveways, and roads by 25 – 45 percent was needed to meet water quality standards.
The Impact Road Salt Has on Our New Hampshire Roads
While salt is used to keep our driveways and roads clear, unfortunately, it doesn’t disappear with the snow. Some of it melts into our rivers, lakes, and water supplies. The portion that does remain on the roads eats away at our infrastructure, including bridges, parking structures, road asphalt, pavements, and even some vehicles.
Do you ever feel like our New Hampshire roads are constantly under construction? While part of their demise can be blamed on the constant expanding and cracking that occurs with fluctuating temperatures, chloride eats away at asphalt and increases the rate at which roads are damaged, potholes are created and cracks occur.
The Effect Road Salt Has on Our Drinking Water
Most New Hampshirites are familiar with road salt damage to our cars because we’ve experienced it. Because most components of a vehicle are made of steel, a chemical reaction occurs when road salt is including causing corrosion. Chloride tends to eat away at a car’s undercarriage and, if not properly washed after heavy bouts of New Hampshire snowfall, will cause rust. A 2017 study by AAA found road salt could be costing car owners as much as $3 billion annually in repair costs.
The Effect Road Salt Has on New Hampshire’s Aquatic Vegetation
The part that runs off into our waterways has a potentially devastating impact on our aquatic life, trees, shrubs, vegetation, and drinking water. According to experts, chloride is toxic to marine life in concentrations above 230 milligrams per liter. With over 48 billion pounds of salt used on our nation’s roads each year, this is well above and beyond the limit.
According to Hilary Dugan, a professor of integrative biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, given the amount of salt used on roads, that’s a real problem. A 2017 study by her team found nearly half of the 284 freshwater lakes in their sample in the Northeast and Midwest had undergone “long-term salinization.” One in 10 of them reached a threshold where scientists worry about impacts on aquatic life. Salt alters the sex of tadpole populations, stunts fish growth, and kills zooplankton, the small aquatic creatures at the bottom of the food chain that help make a lake function correctly. Their absence can increase algae blooms and disrupt the food chain.
Green Snow Pro Certified
We are Green Snow Pro Certified through the New Hampshire Certified Green SnowPro Program (NHDES.) This program is a first in the nation designed to substantially reduce wintertime road salt applications, improve water quality, and provide local New Hampshire companies valuable liability protection. Because private companies typically apply excessive amounts of salt to ensure clients do not slip and fall and thus invoke a lawsuit, the NHDES was able to help pass legislation to protect these businesses.
The NHDES issues Certified Salt Applicator Certificates granting liability protection to businesses and their trained employees after extensive training. This certificate protects the individuals holding it and those who hire a certified individual from damages arising from snow and ice conditions.
Now is the time to schedule your commercial snow removal for the winter. Learn more about our commercial snow removal service. Visit our website, request a free estimate right online, or give us a call at 1-603-622-1111.
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