Treated Rock Salt – Making Roads Clear For Driving

deicing roadIf you are wondering what treated salt means, it’s the basic rock salt coated with a liquid such as calcium chloride for enhancing its performance. Because of the coating, a high-performance deicer is produced with all the benefits of prewetting and more. Most, though not all, North American deicing states are now making use of liquids to improve their solid deicers.

Benefits of Treating Rock Salt with Calcium Chloride


Prewetting rock salt improves performance of salt at any temperature. Liquid calcium chloride offers salt the moisture it requires to produce brine and start the action of melting. Once melting starts, the bond between pavement and ice can be broken which can bring about mechanical removal.

Prewetting abrasive materials and rock salt with liquid calcium chloride has been proven effective in bringing about better ice melting performance and enhancing traction on winter pavement since more than four decades. Calcium chloride has been proven by a study conducted by the Province of Ontario, Canada, to be much more effective as a prewetting agent for rock salt than other brines. On an average, calcium chloride was found by the study to lessen snow cover 27% better than magnesium chloride brine and even more effective than salt brine.

Treated rock salt also reduces scattering, thereby keeping granular materials on the surface of the road where melting of ice and traction are required and thus decreasing impact on the environment. In 2012 tests held by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) validated their earlier results obtained in the early 1970s which found that prewetting of salt decrease loss of salt due to scatter and bounce by around 30%. The results found in 2012 revealed that salt treated with liquid calcium chloride scattered less than dry salt at three different speeds and with two different kinds of distribution systems.



Anti-icing is the process of applying ice melting chemicals prior to and at the beginning of freezing precipitation to stop the formation of bonds between ice and pavement. Compared to deicing after weather events happen, anti-icing needs significantly less amount of deicing material, lessening costs of products and application, and also the possible damage to the environment. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) observes that anti-icing processes can lessen deicer usage by up to 75%.

Dry Blending

Solid calcium chloride when blended 1:4 with rock salt can decrease overall road salt needs by as much as 60%. This is particularly useful in “reduced salt areas” where there is an issue of contamination of ground and surface water by rock salt.

Blending is also helpful in very cold climates and on critical parts of roads like highway ramps, bridges and sharp turns because it can considerably lessen the time needed to break the ice-pavement bond, especially at temperatures less than 15°F.

Spot Usage of Solid Deicer

Solid calcium chloride can be used to fast penetrate and undercut ice in culverts where flow is impeded dangerously by ice, around burst water mains and in other spots where deicing delays or is waiting for natural melting of ice could be dangerous, lead to greater damage and hamper repairs. The highly concentrated calcium chloride releases heat as it takes in moisture, fast dissolving to create ice-melting brine and break the bond between ice and the surface.

Don’t Get Confused by Color

There is a difference between treated rock salt and dyed salt. Treated salt is enhanced in performance, while dyed salt has just a color added to it.

treated rock salt

Benefits of Color

  • The material on the treated surface can be seen
  • Higher performance in sunlight
  • Aesthetics of treated rock salt also offers a clear marketing advantage.

Treating rock salt with calcium chloride has thus several benefits and it’s greatly effective in melting snow and making roads clear for driving.

You may also like...