Melt Water


As the melt water continuously disperses from the snowmelter, the first question usually raised is, “Doesn’t the water freeze?” The answer is: no.

There are several reasons why the melt water will flow across the road surface, to the curb side*, down the gutter, and into the existing storm drain systems without freezing. The first major factor involved is the continuous flow of water. Running water does not freeze like stagnant water. The flowing water does not allow ice crystals to form and therefore the water will travel into the storm drain system before this change in physical state occurs. (Just think about your pipes freezing in your house. Running water will keep the pipes from freezing solid). The second major factor the water does not freeze is due to the exit temperature of 38-40° F. At this temperature, water is at its most dense state and will actually freeze slower than warmer water. This physics principal is call the Mpemba effect. Our demo video shows this water flow process in action.

* In locations where curb/drainage systems are unavailable, or not in existence, the exiting melt water will flow across the road surface and flow beneath the roadside snow banks, melting a path for absorption into the soil.

The best example of successful dispersal of the by-product melt water was cited to Snow Removal Systems by the City of Toronto, Ontario, in June 2003. (The City of Toronto has been using mobile melters since 1976 and certainly has more experience in dealing with melters than any municipality in North America. They remove/melt snow in sub-freezing temperatures and are more familiar with icing issues, etc., having worked this process successfully for the past 29 years).

Their process is as follows:

  1. Melt water exiting the unit should not exceed 38-40° F. (Cold water solidifies slower than warm water).

  2. Melt water runs across the road surface to the gutter.

  3. Melt water runs down the gutter to an existing storm drain (approximately every 150-175 ft.).

  4. Storm drain lid must be removed to prevent pooling.

This process is the absolute best way to handle the melt water. We always follow the melter with a de-icing unit, but 80-90% of the time, we never need it and our recommedation/requirement is that you take care of the melt water in this manner.