New Street Sanding Procedures Saving Money And Time
By collecting and recycling the sand used on icy roads and lowering the salt content of the sand mixture, the Town of Estes Park is reducing environmental impact, labor and material costs – an expected $20,000 in savings over the entire season.
This new procedure began with the purchase of a storage tent in January, 2008, located on the Town’s “yard” off Elm Road. In the early months of last year, sand and salt mix deposited to treat icy roads was collected and dumped at the yard. In October, this pile of collected sand was filtered through a series of screens, each one with smaller holes.
The smallest screen filtered out anything larger than one-half inch in diameter. This “screened” sand was then deposited in another pile at the yard. The final stage includes mixing the screened sand with salt into a mixture containing only 8% salt and storing it in the sand and salt tent.
Prior to this new system, the Public Works department used the Colorado Department of Transportation’s mixture which contains 22% salt.
“That’s a statewide CDOT specification,” explained Dave Mahany, Superintendent of Public Works, “The high salt content is meant to melt ice very quickly, ideal for high-volume, high-speed traffic like what you get on I-25. We can get the job done with 8% salt.”
In November, December, and January of the 2007-2008 snow season the Public Works Department spent $17,877 – or $27.21 per ton of sand and salt mix on sanding operations. For the same months this season using the new recycling procedure, the cost has dropped to $4,800 – or $10.28 per ton.
“Recycled material gets smaller every time you use it,” explained Mahany, “so you have to buy fresh sand periodically.” The pile of screened sand currently on hand will probably last three years without being replenished, said Mahany, which cuts costs even more – “probably down to about $8 a ton,” for the next few snow seasons.
The cost of the salt and sand storage tent, about $45,000, will be recouped within a couple of years with this new system.