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Dubuque companies treat salt to make it more effective amid bitter cold

Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 12:09 AM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - On a cold winter day, staff from the Dubuque snow removal company Skyline worked outside on treating white salt to help it be effective down to -35 degrees.

Mark Arthofer, who owns the company, said the constant cold and snowy weather has made for a busy start to the year for them.

“We have probably went through 7 or 8,000 tons when we finish here today of treated salt out of here this year,” Arthofer said. “The process is basically, with the machine there, we felt as if there was a need about four years ago for treated salt, everybody was basically hand-applying the liquid.”

Arthofer said that is when he partnered with another Dubuque company, Link Hydraulic, to design and build the machine.

“This product is typically brown, but it is a chloride-based product with an organic inhibitor with it,” Arthofer said. “The combination of those two products is what helps it bring it down to -35.”

He explained they sell the treated salt to contractors and municipalities all across the country, including in states like Connecticut, Minnesota, and Rhode Island.

The city of Dubuque, on the other hand, worked to clear the streets last week.

John Klostermann, Dubuque’s public works director, said it is mostly the residential roads that are still slick in Dubuque after last Thursday’s snowstorm, but he said they would probably have to wait until next week to treat those.

“We do have some product, but to go out and do all that and, it is going to warm up by next week,” Klostermann said. “Financially, it would not be good and environmentally it would not be the best.”

Klostermann said when they look at new products, like Skyline’s treated salt, they examine what it would cost on top of what they are currently doing.

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