Wood chips used to deglaze the streets

News 22 January, 2018
  • Photo Dave Parent
    The wood chips are sprayed from the same trucks that salt and sand in two streets of Rosemère.

    Dave Parent

    Monday, 22 January 2018 01:00

    Monday, 22 January 2018 01:00

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    Rosemere uses wood chips to deglaze the pan two of its streets. The process is more environmentally friendly and if the pilot is successful, the city could adopt this technique from Switzerland on the whole of its territory.

    The deicing salt used by municipalities, there are risks to the wildlife, the flora and the aquatic environment, according to Environment Canada, in addition to affect the quality of drinking water.

    Since the beginning of January, Rosemere on the north shore of Montreal, has thus replaced the salt in two of its streets by simple wood shavings soaked in brine of magnesium, a product that helps to melt the ice. This product has a neutral pH, which is a lot less harmful on the water courses. It will not damage the concrete or the steel.


    The chips are made of soft wood (fir, spruce, maple, birch, etc), and this is not the raw material that is lacking in Quebec.

    “When the melting occurs, the chip remains on the surface, it floats, then it can work longer than the sand as anti-skid,” explains Simon Coulombe, director of public works, the Town of Rosemère.

    It is Mr. Coulombe, who had the idea to try this product which is widely used in Switzerland since now eight years old, but is new this winter in Quebec.

    Streets issues

    The City has identified two streets problematic in the winter to conduct its pilot project. The street Glendale, az is abrupt while the streets of Belair island is literally surrounded by water, which promotes the gel.

    “This street has been chosen because it is a place where the abrasive traditional have difficulties to work well. It is necessary to put a large amount, then again, the aspect of pollutant that is unpleasant, ” says mayor Eric Westram.

    Photo courtesy

    Eric Westram


    The residents of the street Glendale seem to appreciate the initiative of the City.

    “Yeah, I noticed the wood shavings, I find that it works well and is more gentle on the pads of the paws of my dog, and best of all, it is better for the environment,” explains Jean-Guy Lorrain.

    The company EMC3 Technologies Joliette manufactures the product in Quebec.

    In most of Rosemere, the cities of Lanoraie (Lanaudière) and Granby (Montérégie) use the wood chips and the product will be tested on the crosses cyclist of the Jacques-Cartier bridge in Montreal.

    In the same way that the small rock or the sand traditionally used, the wood chips must be picked up in the spring.

    “It can be used as a compost or mulch in the spring, in short it can be picked up and reused. In Switzerland, they pick the chip, they mix them with other products to heat 7000 houses, ” says the president of Technology EMC3 André Prévost.

    Rosemere account to try the product until the end of the winter before assessing the effectiveness and cost analysis. The product retails for 138 $ per cubic metre. As the salt is sold by weight, the city is not yet able to say if the use of wood chips is less expensive or more expensive than the salt.

    – With the collaboration of mylog.ca

    Other products already in use

    • Several municipalities use a mixture of beet juice, sugar and salt
    • Cities and towns have opted for the corn syrup
    • In Switzerland, the cities use of the pulp of grapes which melts the ice