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Grounds Crew Searches for Innovation in Ice Control

Last winter, the KSC grounds crew began mixing magnesium chloride and distillers condensed solubles, an agricultural by-product used as a feed additive by the cattle industry, for keeping steps and walkways around the campus clear of ice. The mixture was so successful at preventing ice and snow from freezing to the pavement, says Bud Winsor, assistant director of physical plant, that it will be sprayed on roads around campus this winter. Crew members spray the mixture to create a substance that prevents snow from freezing to the pavement. The liquid mixture, called Ice BGone, is sprayed on road and pavement surfaces before a storm arrives. This approach, called anti-icing, makes it easier for snowplows to remove snow from these surfaces.    To enable grounds staff to quickly apply Ice BGone around the campus, mechanic Mike Fuller designed and built a spray apparatus that can be fitted to the departments bob- cat loaders or trucks. Ice BGone, which has a molasses odor, is not a cure-all for controlling all the effects of winter storms, explains Bud. However, when used properly, he says, Ice BGone can save money, be less corrosive on equipment, reduce the Colleges use of sand and salt, and limit the number of accidents caused by ice and snow on campus. To help plan their use of Ice BGone, grounds staff track storms using a real-time satellite weather reporting system. If you see grounds staff spraying Ice BGone, says Bud, you can be sure a storm is moving in.

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