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How To Store De-Icing Fluids Safely

Winter is approaching fast. With below freezing temperatures and snowstorms affecting millions of people each year, municipalities need to be ready to clear roadways and maintain equipment. De-icing fluid is used to break down ice and frost on roadways and aircrafts.

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The type of substance used for de-icing depends on its application, the amount of snowfall and winter temperatures. There are several chemicals used in the de-icing process, including brine, magnesium chloride, propylene glycol, and ethylene glycol. Brine is the most popular of these chemicals, but it can damage vehicles or rebar on roadways.

Using De-icing Fluids

On roadways, de-icing fluids are used to break down snow and ice and to provide a safe passage for drivers. De-icing fluids are also used on airplanes, to ensure that critical sensors and ports remain unblocked during flight.

Whichever chemical is used during the de-icing process, it must be stored safely so that the integrity of the chemical is not compromised and it is properly contained.

Considerations for Storing De-Icing Fluids

Containing de-icing fluid is critical in order to protect the environment and to maintain chemical integrity. Poly Processing’s SAFE-Tank® is engineered to safely store these four common de-icing fluids:

  • Brine is the most popular de-icing fluid because of cost, but it has limitations in lower temperatures and areas where salt damage cannot be tolerated.

  • Magnesium chloride (also called MAG) is often used on streets in areas with very low temperatures. MAG was once thought to be a safe and powerful ice melting solution. However, we now know it can damage concrete. Any chemical spill that occurs runs a much higher risk of contaminating the natural resources around the tank.

  • Ethylene glycol is much more expensive than brine or MAG and is used more often on aircraft. Ethylene glycol is incompatible with linear high-density polyethylene tanks. Cross-linked polyethylene must be used to safely store Ethylene glycol.

  • Propylene glycol is often used as a safer, less-toxic substitute for ethylene glycol in aircraft de-icing applications, but it must be handled properly because of its potential for contamination. With a specific gravity of 1.04, cross-linked polyethylene is the suggested material for storage tanks.


Related Content: Secondary Containment Guide


 

The Role of a SAFE-Tank In Storing De-icing Fluids

SAFE-Tank

The SAFE-Tank containment and storage system is a double-wall tank system built from cross-linked polyethylene, which is capable of holding the de-icing chemical without issue. The “tank-within-a-tank” configuration means there is no need to designate a large area for a concrete containment structure. In the case of a spill, the risk of damage or lost product is mitigated with very little downtime.

The value of a SAFE-Tank includes a naturally built-in 110 percent secondary containment tank that won’t compromise chemical quality in case of a spill. Even if there is damage to the inner tank, the system works to equalize the liquid level so that you can keep using the tank until the chemical inside has been used. It essentially becomes a single wall tank at this point until repaired. This means tank repairs are not emergencies, saving you critical time and money.

The dome structure of a SAFE-Tank prevents water and debris from entering the containment tank, which eliminates the risk of false positives for leak detection.

The SAFE-Tank system allows de-icing chemicals to be double-wall piped from the tank using the industry’s only fully contained double-wall tank transition fitting. This important fitting drains the primary tank through the containment tank while acting as a secondary containment around the fitting.

With winter well on its way, ensuring your de-icing fluids are properly contained is essential. Don’t be left out in the cold. Find out how a SAFE-Tank can assist with your application by downloading your guide today.

Download SAFE-Tank Guide

Topics: Applications, Chemical Storage