Toronto Tries Sugar Beet Deicing Fluid

One of the sources for my latest article (in a now-defunct online science magazine), “Cities Mix Sugar Beet Juice with Road Salt as Highway Deicer“, is a recent Toronto Star article (cited below in “References”).

I was pleased that Toronto is one of the cities trying out this additive to our “brine to keep ice off the roads” process. I had first learned about sugar beet juice back in January, but didn’t get around to writing this article until after the Star’s report. Toronto is not the first place where it is being tested; Ontario’s Niagara region has several years of data. Some areas in the USA are old hands with it, while it is still an experiment elsewhere.

The Environmental Impact of Sugar Beet Juice as a Road Deicer

"Red Snow Plow Plowing Snow" by ww3billard
“Red Snow Plow Plowing Snow” by ww3billard

Once my article gets past the “what and how”, the really important question becomes “does it affect the environment”?

Of course the municipalities are also concerned with cost and effectiveness.

(Added July 29, 2014): Come to think of it, I much prefer that trucks spray deicing fluid rather than solid deicing salt. How much does rock salt deicer damage our cars’ paint and finish? From an environmental view, let’s not force drivers to repaint their cars any more often than needed.

As far as I know, Toronto has not yet issued a report. Considering the winter we’ve had, it’s unlikely that any definitive results have been logged. I do plan to remain alert on this topic.


My thanks to two local reference sources:

Publicity for this Article on Sugar Beet Juice as a Road Deicer

In my Blog of Writing, “Clearing Icy Roads with Sugar Beet Juice” includes a pair of writing tips.

Background on Sugar Beets

My prior article, “Sugar Beet: Sugar Cane’s Unsung Rival” explained more about how sugar beets are grown and then processed into sugar.

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