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The Star Ledger; Newark, N.J.- Keeping Ice off Parkway

Magic Minus Zero is NJ Highway Authority’s main weapon against highway icing

(October 27, 2000) No one ever made a big deal about the brown, sweet-smelling goo that oozed from the pipes at the Hungarian vodka distillery. Not until a chemist at the plant noticed something strange about the small, slow- running stream that ran by the distillery. It never froze, no matter how cold outside.
Eventually, some enterprising folks converted the substance into a de-icing product that made its way to the market and now to the Garden State Parkway, where officials swear it will make this winter’s driving safer and smoother, and cause less rust and corrosion to vehicles.
Parkway officials announced yesterday that the marvelous goo, which goes by the brand name Magic Minus Zero, will be their main weapon against highway icing this year. The New Jersey Highway Authority, which runs the Parkway, has agreed to buy $1.36 million worth of the stuff, which can be used in several ways.
The authority’s existing stockpile of 11,566 tons of rock salt will be run through a giant conveyer-driven machine that will mix it with the substance, not unlike coating popcorn with caramel. In addition, the state is buying 25,000 tons of salt already treated with the product, and Parkway officials also plan to try spraying the substance in its liquid form on the roadway to prevent freezing.
Magic Minus Zero does not come cheap. The pellets pre-treated with Magic Minus Zero cost about 40 percent more than standard sodium chloride, or rock salt. In its liquid form, the substance costs twice as much as the calcium chloride liquid that the highway had been using.
But officials insist the stuff is worth the price because it is noncorrosive: It will save money because it will not gnaw away at metal bridges, tollbooths and guardrails. And although anyone driving through the syrupy glop will notice an unsightly brown film on windshields and paint jobs, Parkway engineers said it will hose right off and that windshields can be cleared just as easily as when rock salt is used.
Because it’s used in highly diluted form, officials said, it won’t gum up salt spreaders and it won’t stick to car fenders or the soles of people’s shoes.
It’s also biodegradable, meaning runoff will not taint fields and waterways. “It supposed to be safe enough that you actually can eat it,” said Rob Fischer, Parkway construction manager. Not that anyone has tried a taste.
But the Parkway last year did test Magic Minus Zero capabilities as an ice- fighter on sections of the road near the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel and in Bergen County. “It worked well,” said Dan Noxon, the highway’s chief maintenance engineer. “Last year we never got one complaint.”
The New York State Thruway and many counties and towns in upstate New York have used the material the past two years, Parkway officials said. Magic Minus Zero also has been used in Pennsylvania and throughout New England, according to Daren Crawford, vice president of sales and marketing for Imus Inc., the Rome NY, company that make the substance.
Author: Joe Malinconico
Star-Ledger Staff

Backus Hospital Newsletter. Magic salt eases slippin’ and slidin’

Backus Hospital Newsletter
(February 11,2005) A weekly newsletter for employees, volunteers, patients and friends of The William M. Backus Hospital.
326 Washington Street, Norwich, CT 06360. Published by the Public Relations Dept., third floor Annex, x-4017
Magic salt eases slippin’ and slidin’
Usually at this time of year, Environmental Services personnel at Backus Hospital are vacuuming up huge quantities of sand – brought in from the parking areas by pedestrian traffic; and, unsightly white patches caused by rock salt area usually all to visible on the entrance runners and very difficult to remove.
By this time of year, event though Maintenance employees are hard at work sanding and salting parking areas, a few employees have slipped on ice or snow. Throughout the month of January 2005, which saw an appreciable snowfall, there were no reported employee falls. And, this winter, there have been no reports of visitors or patients falling the the parking areas.
What’s making the difference this winter? Some say it might be the use of “Magic Salt.”
The Backus Maintenance Department is conducting a one-year trial of this melting substance, which is according to Bob Coggeshall, Assistant Maintenance Manager of Maintenance at Backus, rock salt treated with a liquid, agricultural by-product of the distilling process blended with magnesium chloride.
The resulting material, which resembles brown sugar and smells like molasses, is a non-toxic, biodegradable, highly effective ice melter – while rock salt alone stops melting when the temperature falls below 18° F, Magic Salt treats ice and snow when the temperature is minus 35° F.
The material also has a corrosive index lower than distilled water, thereby, the Hospital’s dump trucks and concrete storage areas are treated much more kindly.
While half as much Magic Salt is needed as regular rock salt, it is more expensive and costs more than a sand and salt mixture. The cost, however, is saved in patient, visitor and employee safety – which cannot be measured monetarily, and in employee work-hours.
Members of the Environmental Services Department give Magic Salt credit for reducing their efforts in vacuuming sand off the rugs at the entrances to the Hospital. While they still have to vacuum every two hours, the debris is easily picked up. This gives them more time to do their normal Hospital duties.
Mr. Coggeshall said that in addition to employees and visitor safety, and less cleanup time and effort, the benefits of using Magic Salt include:
It works better and lasts longer – it takes less to melt ice and snow than any other ice-melter and it doesn’t harm curbside grassed areas or plants and it leaves no visible residue.
Applications are reduced by 30 – 50%, and the need for sand is mostly eliminated. Because of residual effects, black ice is virtually non-existent in the parking areas, as residual effects negate snow and ice from sticking to the pavement.
Perhaps best of all, it’s environmentally friendly, releasing far less chlorides into the environment than plain rock salt or calcium chloride, and it’s safe for people to handle.
All in all, “Magic Salt” thus far really does seem to be living up to its name.

The Willow Grove Guide; Willow Grove, Penn. Magic Salt melts away winter woes

Magic Salt Melts Away Winter Woes
Author: Mark D. Marotta, Staff Writer
The Willow Grove Guide
Although the snowfall these days may be fast and furious, Upper Moreland businessman John Stenger thinks he can offer a solution.
Along with partner Bob Young, Stenger is co-owner of Environmental Solutions Inc., the area’s exclusive distributor of Magic Salt, an ice- and snow-melting product manufactured by Innovative Municipal United States, of Rome, N. Y.
Stenger explained that Magic Salt combines liquid magnesium chloride with distillery soluble left as waste from the production of beer, whiskey, vodka and rum. He added that the manufacturer does not disclose the breweries from which the waste product comes, but that the material from only about four facilities worldwide seems to work well.
Tanker trucks deliver 4,500-gallon shipments of liquid to Environmental Solutions, which then sprays it onto rock salt, Stenger said. While the application to salt sometimes takes place at the company’s Wyandotte Road facility, it more often happens at a customer’s site, or on large piles of salt stored at ports in Wilmington, Morrisville or Camden.
Stenger maintained that Magic Salt works “a lot quicker” than alternatives. While all chlorides need contact with liquid in order to melt ice, magnesium and calcium can draw moisture from the air, and therefore can start to work immediately, he said.
“I’ve taken a decent amount of courses on ice-melt product,” Stenger said. He added that he also had chemists’ reports explaining how Magic Salt works.
Stenger acknowledged that Magic Salt is more expensive than untreated rock salt, which currently costs $55 per ton. Treating the salt with the liquid adds a cost of $26 per ton, he said.
However, Stenger pointed out, using the product can reduce the amount of rock salt needed by as much as 50 percent. As temperatures drop, he noted, rock salt tends to become less efficient, so more has to be used. By contrast, Stenger claimed Magic Salt works at temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees. In recent years, temperatures dropped noticeably during snowstorms, he added.
According to Stenger, Magic Salt is “environmentally friendly, [and] safe for pets.” He said the distillery waste could also be used as cattle feed.
Stenger added that he first heard of Magic Salt 10 years ago. As a snow removal contractor, he recounted, he was “very interested in the liquid,” but found that New York was the closest place to get it.
Now, his company, which has six full-time employees and several seasonal workers, sells Magic Salt to customers in Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania, Camden and Burlington counties in New Jersey, and New Castle County in Delaware.
Municipalities and snow removal contractors are usually the product’s end users, Stenger said. However, he added, homeowners periodically show up at Environmental Solutions to buy bags of Magic Salt. Stenger explained that small contractors and private schools also purchase the bags, which are produced in Canada.
Stenger said his company is in discussions with some retail stores about having them sell Magic Salt, and is also working on providing the product to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and Philadelphia public schools.
Environmental Solutions also provides services to suppress dust at locations such as horse arenas, quarries and roads, and also is a snow removal equipment dealer, Stenger added.
Content © 2005 The Willow Grove Guide.