Environmental Effects of Sodium Acetate/Formate Deicer, Ice Shear™
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The environmental impacts of Ice Shear™, an alternative highway deicer, have been evaluated using standard laboratory tests; biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) tests, chemical oxygen demand (COD) tests, acute rainbow trout bioassays, and phytotoxicity tests were used. Ice Shear consists of equimolar sodium acetate and sodium formate. The organic matter of the deicer can be readily degraded microbiologically in the natural environment with a slow rate of degradation at lower temperatures but an increased rate at higher temperatures. At elevated temperatures, highway runoffs of the deicer may reduce the level of dissolved oxygen in the receiving waters to cause an adverse impact. However, the apparent activation energy calculated for the BOD rate of Ice Shear is low (8.78 kcal mole−1), indicating that the temperature variation may not significantly influence the biodegradation of the deicer compound. Ice Shear appears relatively harmless to aquatic animals, showing a high 96-h LC50 value (16.1 g/L) derived for rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Ice Shear causes minimal toxicity to representative roadside vegetation; herbaceous (e.g., sunflowers, beans, and lettuce) and woody (e.g., pine seedlings) plants. Rather, the deicer at low concentrations (less than 2 g/kg soil) seems to work as a fertilizer, promoting the yield of biomass. The test results indicate that Ice Shear poses minimal environmental disturbance in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
KeywordsDissolve Oxygen Chemical Oxygen Demand Rainbow Trout Kcal Mole Sodium Acetate
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