‘‘Soy sauce’ myth revealed

Beer byproduct, Ice Ban used to prevent ice on KSC grounds


An antifreeze method “from Hungary,” according to the Lowell Sun, makes its way to Keene, N.H. Bridget Scrimenti with the Lowell Sun claimed, “It smelled like molasses.”

At Keene State College, though, students have given it a different name. “Soy Sauce,” is what sophomore Elton Purvis described the scent as.

But what really is the antifreeze material?

It is a beer byproduct known as Ice Ban, provided to the college via Safe Road Services of Franklin, Massachusetts, according to Arthur “Bud” Winsor, assistant director of physical plant with the grounds crew. It was Winsor’s decision to begin using the product at KSC.

According to Winsor, the product is half liquid chloride (rock salt) and half brewers condensed solubles, which are the concentrated, suspended and water soluble by-products from the manufacturing of beer.

The purpose of Ice Ban is to enhance the ability of rock salt, by allowing the salt to continue to adhere to the ground in freezing temperatures. Ice Ban also inhibits corrosion and damage to ferrous metals (cars), according to a pamphlet provided by Winsor.

Pointing to a doppler radar weather computer program on his desktop, Winsor stated, “We can get a really good idea of when it is going to snow—we try to put the stuff out half-a-day before it snows or a day before it snows.” Winsor explained the benefits to the placement of the Ice Ban, which he said students do not like. Winsor said, “Why it is so important, is because it breaks the bonds between ice and pavement. The students don’t like it because they’re walking on mush, but once you plow it away you’re down to bare pavement.”

“It sticks to your feet and it stains your shoes,” sophomore Joseph Geis stated.

Eric Jedd / Equinox Staff

Eric Jedd / Equinox Staff

“I feel like they should change what they are doing, because it all just turns to slush and makes everything look messy. Once it is slush, they should clear it off,” sophomore Brett Coffin said about Ice Ban.

Winsor, however, shared a different perspective.

“It works with rock salt, and the salt we get is pretreated with the same material. It also saves us a lot on rock salt,” Winsor claimed, “And we swear by the stuff.”

In terms of cost, Winsor said, “Just to give you an idea, the stuff out there in those tanks [as he gestured out window], we bought it two years ago. Two-thousand gallons lasts you a long time, and if I remember at the time it was about a buck-twenty a gallon.”

“The stuff that they put on the ground that looks like molasses is environmentally friendly,” Campus Sustainability Officer, Mary Jensen, said.

“More environmentally friendly? Can’t say that it is totally environmentally friendly, but it does cut down on the amount of road salt used as to be less harmful,” Winsor said when questioned on this claim. “The substance is also residual, especially with asphalt, and it bonds well with the road so that you don’t always need to put it out,” Winsor said, “So guys who use it never go back to other methods.”

According to the Lowell Sun, the rock salt is imported from India, Ireland, Mexico and Australia. Numerous neighboring counties to Keene have also been using Ice Ban.

Kevin Barrett, president of Safe Roads, claimed in the Lowell Sun that, “The concept for Ice Ban, was originally discovered in Hungary. A Hungarian vodka distillery discharged it’s by-products out a pipe, into a neighboring pond. The pipe never froze because of the vodka by-products.”


Zachary Fournier can be contacted at zfournier@keene-equinox.com

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