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Lake Placid uses new sidewalk de-icer for first time

ClearLane applied to walkways around Mirror Lake

LAKE PLACID — After last weekend’s winter storm, this village used its new new de-icer Tuesday, Cargill’s ClearLane, and a new spreading unit for the first time on its downtown sidewalks.

After last winter when the village tried out the liquid-based de-icer Street Treat in an attempt to reduce salt use around the lake, the village Department of Public Works will use ClearLane, a sodium chloride-based de-icer claimed to be anti-corrosive and better for the environment than traditional road salt.

The magnesium chloride enables ClearLane to work at lower temperatures and it is also used by the state on the 16-mile salt use test area on state Route 86, beginning near Old Military Road, running through Main Street and out toward Wilmington, DPW Superintendent Brad Hathaway said.

Hathaway added that the new spreaders will enable the village to reduce its application amount of ClearLane as opposed to the broadcast spreaders the village formerly used.

“There is less waste in the road and up against buildings,” Hathaway said. “We are trying to keep material on the sidewalk. It’s the same job as before with less material.”

Cargill claims that when ClearLane is applied, 80 percent of it remains within 18 inches of where it lands. This compares to approximately 50 percent for traditional salt, making the new product more efficient.

Though Street Treat received positive reviews in other places, such as Saratoga Springs, Lake Placid DPW found last year its effectiveness diminished in rain as a result of a diluted salt portion of the mixture. During storms last winter that included rain, the village switched from Street Treat back to road salt. The village also found Street Treat to be less effective in Lake Placid because of a lack of sunlight.

Hathaway said with ClearLane there is an improved residual melting effect. ClearLane is being applied to the sidewalk surrounding Mirror Lake and sidewalks on any roads branching off of Main Street that have the village’s red paver stone sidewalks.

“All this comes about because we are always trying to cut costs for taxpayers and reduce the amount of waste we have,” Hathaway said. “But also a big driver behind this is the lake. We’ve found that the only thing that is going to work here in this climate with these storms is going to have to have some type of salt, or a material like salt, not a liquid. It didn’t work.”

ClearLane comes in the form of a green crystalline solid and claims to have environmentally friendly elements, including 84 percent less corrosiveness to spreading equipment than regular rock salt. The product has the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice label and claims it de-ices to the same degree as rock salt while using 30 percent less product.

Last spring, the AuSable River Association was surprised to find high concentrations of road salt and suspended solids, such as sand, in unexpected locations along the southeast shore of Mirror Lake.

In a Winter 2016 stormwater sampling report, the association’s science and stewardship director Brendan Wiltse said there was a high reading of 955 milligrams per liter of chloride coming out of storm drains heading into the lake. Wiltse said the high chloride concentration is attributable mainly to road salt and that Mirror Lake has one of the highest chloride concentrations for a lake tested in the Adirondack Park, consistently in the 95th to 97th percentile.

In September, the village board approved a $1 million bond to conduct stormwater and sewer system improvements for the east side of Mirror Lake including the construction of 1,259 feet of new stormwater drains on the east side of the lake and 450 feet of the same alongside Parkside Drive. The bond will help to finance $743,652 in stormwater drainage work currently being done by Kubricky Construction to replace the existing stormwater drains along the southeastern shore of the lake.

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