Development of ADOT application rate guidelines for winter storm management of chemical additives through an ambient monitoring system.
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Development of ADOT application rate guidelines for winter storm management of chemical additives through an ambient monitoring system.

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  • Abstract:
    The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is responsible for keeping state and federally 

    owned/operated transportation corridors safe and operational during winter months when snow and ice 

    accumulate on these roads. A common practice is the application of anti‐icing and deicing chemicals, primarily 

    sodium chloride (salt). ADOT’s Winter Storm Management Operations Manual (WSMOM) presents guidelines 

    for the application of anti‐icing and deicing chemical based on specific storm events and roadway conditions. 

    Sodium and chloride can be dispersed to areas adjacent to roadways though melting snow and ice and by 

    vehicle splash and spray. Upon reaching vegetation and soil, these compounds can negatively impact the 

    environment. To evaluate the relationship between salt applications and potential impacts to soil and 

    vegetation, data from winter storm management activities (frequency of application, quantity of salt applied, 

    and adherence to ADOT WSMOM guidelines) were compared to sodium and chloride concentrations in soil and 

    vegetation samples collected at varying distances from the roadway. Data collection and review included 16 

    sites along State Route 260 and U.S. Routes 180 and 191, all in ADOT’s Globe District. Analyses of soil and 

    vegetation samples show that sodium concentrations are greatest nearest the roadway and decrease with 

    increasing distance from the roadway. There is no evidence that sodium concentrations in the soil exceed levels 

    considered tolerable for vegetation, nor is there a significant seasonal difference between fall readings and 

    spring readings of sodium and chloride concentrations in soil and vegetation. Additionally, sodium 

    concentrations in soil samples did not appear to have a statistically significant impact on the level of sodium in 

    vegetation samples. Therefore, it cannot be concluded that sodium concentrations in soil are directly impacting 

    sodium concentration in vegetation near the roadway. There is no evidence to support that ADOT should 

    deviate from its current chemical application rate guidelines. 

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