Adaptive Management to Improve De-Icing Operations

  • A rectangular white plastic box designed to collect street meltwater data. The box has perforated sides and a screened top. A cylindrical black-and-white instrument is mounted on the top with wire leads to transmit data.
  • A researcher pushes a coring device into a snowbank along a city street.
  • Truck Deicing
Status:  Complete
Report Date:  04/08/2021


Working with Edina Public Works staff, researchers collected deicing data from agency trucks during winter maintenance operations. They correlated salt usage with data they collected indicating the amount of chloride showing up in meltwater flows from the roadways. Maintenance staff could compare their salt usage during particular events with increases of chlorides in runoff and adjust their deicing operations accordingly. This adaptive management approach—constantly checking the effects of actions and making adjustments—is one way that local agencies may be able to more effectively reduce the amount of chlorides entering the environment and still achieve satisfactory winter traffic mobility. Researchers created an adaptive management training manual for deicing and a spreadsheet calculator to help agency staff improve their deicing operations. Email for a copy of the training manual and spreadsheet calculator.

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