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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 19, 2010

UI crews to use eco-friendly deicer this winter

University of Iowa landscape services crews will have a new weapon in the battle against icy walkways, steps and building entrances this winter: sugar beet juice. The crews will use ProMelt, an eco-friendly deicer that combines salt with a byproduct from sugar beet processing.

It’s anticipated the product will provide better anti-icing and deicing performance than rock salt alone, reducing the number of applications and quantity needed. Scott Gritsch, manager with UI Facilities Management Landscape Services, anticipates using 30 percent less product this season to keep the walkways clear and safe.

“Our goal is to clear the snow early and down to the pavement so there isn’t any re-freeze,” said Gritsch. “This new product works at a lower effective temperature than salt and will begin to work quicker, too.”

The product has a slightly tacky texture so there’s no need to mix it with sand, Gritsch said. This will decrease the amount of dirt tracked into buildings, reducing damage to tiles and carpets and lowering the amount of clean-up the UI custodial team has to deal with.

Seeing is believing and safety is a priority, so UI officials are considering this first season a trial year for the product. In addition to gauging its effectiveness on snow and ice, Gritsch hopes to see reduced corrosion of concrete and damage to vegetation. The reduced environmental impact of the naturally derived material that is manufactured in Waterloo, Iowa, fits well with the university’s commitment to sustainability.

“Water runoff from snowmelt eventually ends up in our storm drains and natural waterways, taking along with it any sand, salt and other materials it may have picked up along the way,” said Liz Christiansen, director of the UI Office of Sustainability. “Facilities Management continues to investigate new products like ProMelt that are environmentally and fiscally responsible.”

Rock salt and sand will still be used on roadways and on some heavily traveled walkways, and weather conditions will determine the type and blend of products used by the crews.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Scott Gritsch, Landscape Services, 319 384 0748,; Liz Christiansen, Office of Sustainability, 319-335-5516,; Amy Myers, UI Office of Sustainability,, 319-335-5517; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012, Writer: Amy Myers