Lead Editorial: Changes in Campus Rock Salting Habits

The Editorial Board

3 mins read
Featured image courtesy of Nicole Sydor

In the Spring 2022 semester, an Acorn article demanded change in the rock salting habits on campus. The plea for change was answered this semester with the trial of a new method of de-icing that Drew should continue to use.

Image courtesy of Nicole Sydor

On Wednesday, Jan. 24, a wintery mix fell upon Drew, creating slippery conditions on roads and paths. In an effort to combat the formation of ice and sludge, liquid de-icer was applied on the pavement prior to the snowfall. Students may have noticed the white lines along the paths at Drew and wondered about their purpose. These lines were liquid de-icer, or liquid brine, meant to keep the paths clear of snow and ice. Unfortunately this method was not very effective. Snow turned into sludge on the paths, making them slippery and dangerous to walk on. However, Drew should not completely throw away the idea of using liquid de-icer. Salt is easier to scatter than it is to apply the liquid brine and according to The Cope Company, “if the product [liquid de-icer] is used incorrectly, it won’t yield proper results.” So, in preparation for potential snowfalls, liquid de-icer could be used again with the proper technique of application in order to combat the problems that rock salt causes.

Although it was not as effective as one would hope, praise should be given to the effort of not using rock salt. According to The Cope Company, there are advantages to using the liquid method over the salt method. Liquid brine tends to stick to roads and sidewalks, as opposed to the bouncing and scattering of rock salt. It is also a lot more environmentally friendly than rock salt since it can be applied precisely. 

This week, Drew returned to using rock salt. This is a step back from using liquid de-icer. Although the use of rock salt seems necessary considering that the liquid barely had an effect, Drew should not have jumped right back into old habits that are dangerous to Drew’s ecosystem and community. The rock salt that gets dispersed can easily seep into groundwater, which is sometimes used as drinking water. This means that we could be drinking salt. Additionally, salt gets stuck on students’ shoes, damaging them and creating irreversible scratches on tiles. Even though the salt was dispersed more evenly and precisely than last year, when students could watch others slip on the enormous salt piles, liquid brine is still a much safer option for the Drew community. Other, more natural methods are outlined in the first Acorn article concerning this issue and could be considered as well.

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