PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Beets aren’t just for eating anymore. They’re being used to help melt snow.
Rock salt is corrosive. It can tear up concrete and asphalt, cause problems for your dog’s paws, and, experts say, the sodium can make its way to streams and could change the chemistry of fresh water which could impact aquatic life.
Raluca Ellis, an environmental scientist at the Franklin Institute, says beets can be used in conjunction with rock salt to reduce the amount of salt used.
“It can act as like a goo or a coating for the surface, so that allows the salt to stick around more and stick around better so it doesn’t just run off, and the sugar in the beets can lower the freezing temperature.”
PennDOT experimented with beet juice two years ago in the western part of the Commonwealth. The application process didn’t go as smoothly as it wanted.
The process was stopped, but PennDOT officials tells us they are open to exploring other options.