Dust control can be an issue when driving on an unpaved road. People who regularly use unpaved roads have dealt with dust clouds that kick up behind the vehicle. The dust reduces your field of vision, making driving unsafe. After it’s kicked up, the dust can also travel hundreds of feet into local neighborhoods, reducing the air quality for residents too.
Dust can also cause allergic reactions, so an unpaved road with dust problems can affect people’s health. Finally, the more dust that is kicked up off the road, the more the road degenerates, leading to extra maintenance costs.
Because of these issues, people search for a solution to control their dust. One of the most popular methods of dust control is calcium chloride.
It’s been one of the most popular forms of dust control for decades. To break it down, it’s basically a type of salt that draws moisture from the air. So when applied to a road, the moisture is taken from the air and kept in the road, creating a surface that is always damp. The moisture taken into the soil then acts as a soil stabilizer, keeping the soil in the road together to create a compact road with less dust.
Calcium chloride does need to be reapplied though, especially in places with dry, hot weather. This is because it relies on moisture to keep the road damp and reduce dust; so the drier the climate, the more applications you’ll need to make.
Because of this, calcium chloride isn’t a long-term soil stabilizer since it’ll need to be applied more than once depending on the climate.
Applying Calcium Chloride
Before applying calcium chloride, it’s important to have the road watered. It’s best to do this when weather humidity and moisture levels are high. When the road is wet, the calcium chloride will be able to go deep into the soil.
Once the road is wet, you’ll want to blade it with a motor grader. Blading will prepare the road and also remove washboarding, potholes, and other road damages.
You’ll want to be sure to shape the road for drainage purposes too. In order for it to have good drainage, you’ll need to shape the road with good ditches and shoulders.
After the road is properly shaped, the calcium chloride solution can then be applied with a water truck. The solution will need to be applied multiple times, but the more applications you make, the more your road will be stabilized.
Effects of Calcium Chloride
While calcium chloride is good for dust control, there are a couple of side effects you should think about. For instance, calcium chloride eats away at metal, so any vehicles driving on a calcium chloride treated road will have to get sprayed down and washed, especially the undercarriage.
If it’s left untreated, the calcium chloride will eat away the car’s metal and wiring. And any damage done to a car by calcium chloride can’t be repaired.
Something else to keep in mind, calcium chloride can affect the environment. If calcium chloride washes into the surrounding soil, it’ll affect the health of any nearby plant life.
Plants will be affected as it absorbs the chloride through their roots. This’ll cause stunted plant growth and other effects including leaf scorching and needle tip burn.
So if you want something that’s more plant friendly, you may want to consider another solution.
The side effects calcium chloride causes is something to think about. But there are some solutions that are plant friendly and easier on your car. One option being the enzyme-based solution Perma-Zyme.
By bringing clay particles in the soil together, it creates a concrete-like surface that will last a very long time. Since the soil particles are made into one solid surface, there’s much less dust.
And though there is a construction process with Perma-Zyme, if applied correctly, one application can keep soil solid for up to 10 years with little to no maintenance.
So if you’re considering using Perma-Zyme, then a motor grader, water truck, sheepsfoot compactor, and smooth wheel roller are suggested for the application process.
Once you’re ready to get started, first rip up the soil using the motor grader. For a road seeing normal traffic, dig 6 inches deep. For a road seeing daily heavy traffic (like 18-wheelers) dig 12 inches. After the soil is ripped up, use a water truck to wet the soil to optimum moisture.
When the soil is at optimum moisture, mix the Perma-Zyme with water in the water truck and spray it evenly along the road. After spraying, use the high vibratory function on the sheepsfoot or padfoot compactor to aggressively compact the road.
Lastly, use a smooth wheel roller for additional compaction while smoothing the road out.
A Perma-Zyme treated road is ready to drive on as soon as it’s dry and will continue to get harder over the course of 6 weeks.
So while calcium chloride is a great solution for soil stabilization, Perma-Zyme is a great option too. It’s 100% non-toxic and it only requires one application for years of stability.