October 15, 2010
The Snow and Ice Management Sector Group of Landscape Ontario has commissioned a research study aimed to develop an optimum and defensible standard for salt application rates for parking lots.

Dr. Liping Fu of the University of Waterloo will conduct the research this coming winter on parking lots in the Region of Waterloo. However, the research team wants to extend the data collection outside the Waterloo area.

Contractors will be fitted with a unique salt-spreader controller that logs all the data required for this project. That data will include location (GPS), date, time, speed and amount of material spread on a given area, via spinner compensation. The information will be transferred via the web to the research team for further analysis. The controller will be closed loop, road speed oriented with spinner compensation. This cost-effective controller is adaptable to hydraulic or electric spreaders.

How to participate

You will be required to purchase the controller. One of the member distributors will make 25 systems available at a 10 per cent discount for qualifying private and government organizations. The systems are adaptable to hydraulic and electric spreaders, having a separate control for the spinner. Those taking part will also be required to adhere to the methodology set out by the research group.

Liability is a very serious issue in the snow and ice management industry. The cost of insurance continues to climb and in some cases insurance companies are refusing to cover snow and ice operations. In addition, the over-use of salt causes a great deal of economic and environmental damage. “Developing a defensible standard will assist to elevate the level of professionalism, reduce excess salt use and reduce slip and fall liability,” says Tony DiGiovanni, executive director of LO.

Every year, Canada spends over $1-billion to clear snow and ice on private and public roads, parking lots and sidewalks. Most of the past research efforts have focused on roadway maintenance with little study of parking lots and sidewalks, which use 20 to 30 per cent of the five million tonnes of salt to keep them safe. “There are now few defendable and uniform guidelines for using salt in this manner, says Robert Roszell, who is chairing the research committee through LO’s Snow and Ice Sector Group.

Registration for the program is through Tony DiGiovanni, who may be contacted at 1-800-265-5656, ext. 2304, or tonydigiovanni@landscapeontario.com. The deadline for registration is Nov. 1.