Author Archives: snowtadmin

Using liquids to anti-ice sidewalks in Kitchener

Why use Liquids?
Liquids serve two purposes for us. We apply them during the day before a storm hits to treat sidewalks and we apply liquids directly onto sidewalks after we have plowed the snow as a replacement to putting rock salt down. The treated sidewalks can melt the first 1-2 cm of snow fall. This helps keep sidewalks safe for people that are using them in the middle of a snow event.

How are we applying Liquids on sidewalks?
We have equipped our 2018 Kubota RTV with a SnowEx VSS-1000 liquid sprayer which conveniently pops in and out of the back of the RTV in exchange for a traditional rock salter. It has a 50’ hose line which we use to spray narrow pathways, steps and ramps.

Type of Liquids
We use Ice-Axe which is an organic based additive that can also be used for pre-treating rock salt. Ice-Axe increases the melting capacity of treated salt up to -29C. We like the product because it does not leave any residue that needs to be cleaned up. It’s 100% bio-degradable and environmentally friendly.

Application Rates
Using the manufacturer suggested calibration rate has been successful. The liquid melts 1-2 cm of snow and the surfaces were not slippery or icy for the rest of the day. In mild temperatures, the results were comparable to surfaces that had been pre-treated with rock salt.

Educating our staff
The Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) has been a great resource for educating ourselves on the benefits of using liquids and how to use liquids in a practical setting. Our staff have attended the Virtual Liquid Brine Strategy Online Conference and completed the Fundamentals of Anti-Icing & Liquids online training course offered through SIMA in October 2020.

Snow Plow Fleet Pictures

We are so excited to introduce you to our 2020/2021 lineup of snow & ice removal vehicles! We cannot believe it has been 13 years since we began providing complete winter maintenance and landscaping services. 

Thank you to the Township of Woolwich for letting us use the St Jacobs Lions Hall for our photos. It was a bit too squishy in the shop yard! 

Also, thank you to DeBoers Equipment in Elora and Premier Equipment in Elmira for always providing us with the best equipment to get the job done.

Anti-icing with liquids in Kitchener

We had our new 2018 Kubota RTV out anti-icing municipal sidewalks, wheel chair ramps, and stairs in Kitchener before the snow came last week. We’re using a SnowEx VSS-1000 liquid sprayer which conveniently pops in and out of the back of the RTV in exchange for the salter. It also has a 50’ hose line which we were able to easily use to spray narrow pathways, steps and ramps were the sidewalk unit could not fit.

The first test using the manufacturer suggested calibration rate was a success. It melted 1+ cm of snow and the surfaces were not slippery or icy for the duration of the following day. We still have a bit of playing around to do as the results in the mild temperatures were comparable to surfaces that had been pre-treated with rock salt.

We’re looking forward to continuing to test the product. Where we will see the biggest benefit will be as the temperatures remain colder as the winter progresses. This is when we anticipate to see the product really exceed the results of rock salt. There are no availability concerns with liquids, which gives us another great alternative to keeping our properties safe this winter.

Finding a snow plowing contractor for 2018/2019 season

Everyone I talk to these days seems to be predicting a winter that is worst than last year, and here I am thinking that last winter was pretty long. We had an early start in November and we ended the season off with one of the largest ice storms in the middle of April. If you combine the weather forecasts with the salt shortage in Ontario right now, we’re starting to brew the perfect storm.

I think one of the key things for customers to think about going into the 2018/2019 winter season is that it’s important to get locked in with a snow removal contractor right away. If you don’t have a snow plowing & salting contract as of now, you’re already late in the game as most of the reputable snow removal companies will be fully booked. In our case, we had a 98% retention rate even with asking our customers to take on the additional cost of salt this year. From what I’ve heard in the industry, there are some contractors who are walking away from contracts because they can’t provide the service at the agreed upon rate or they are reducing their client load and letting go of smaller clients. That leaves a lot of clients looking for a new snow plowing service with a reduced number of contractors in the field that are willing and able to take on new work.

So, what should you do if your snow plowing contractor from last year is no longer able to service your parking lot and you need to find someone new?
1) Start calling now for quotes.
2) Evaluate your options and make a quick decision.
3) Ask how much salt reserves your snow plowing contractor has and how much you will have access too.
4) Make sure the snow removal company will provide you with a Certificate of Insurance.
5) Ask for a contract so you have everything in writing.

The most important thing is finding a snow contractor now, and not waiting until the first snowfall in November to make the call. We’re still taking on a few smaller sites if they are located within our existing routes or if they require daytime service.

If you have any questions, feel free to call and talk to us at anytime.
~ Alicia Calma

Now Hiring – Snow Plow Tractor Operator

Last year our tractor operators were our key success in plowing over 96 acres of parking lots! We run newer model John Deere and Kubota tractors with MetalPless LiveEdge blades.

As a Tractor Operator, you’re responsible for a designated route of sites for the season. Typical shifts are from 11 pm – 6:30 am. Preference will be given to individuals with previous tractor experience either snow plowing or farming. All tractors have CB radios, GPS, and are generally located on-site throughout Kitchener-Waterloo. You will be responsible for communicating regularly with dispatch, and 18 other operators that are working together as a team to plow parking lots, sidewalks and salt.

To apply, please call Luke at 519-591-1274.

Ontario salt shortage – Planning for success

In our last blog post we talked about why there is an anticipated salt shortage for this upcoming winter in Ontario.

Here is what we are doing to prepare and keep our clients safe this winter.

We’re stock piling salt now to make sure that we have enough salt on hand in the event that local depots run out of salt.

Our ePoke salters are equipped with a pre-wet system to treat salt as it comes out of the spinner. Pre-wet salt sticks to pavement better and application rates can be slightly reduced to help spread bulk salt further.

Sidewalks and steps are pretreated with liquids, primarily brine, the day before a snow event to prevent snow and ice from bonding to the pavement, making plowing easier and resulting in less salt used after the storm.

Snow plowing is done with MetalPless LiveEdge plows which have 24′ trip edge sections that move up and down with the pavement allowing the blade to scrape tighter to the pavement and leave less snow residue behind.

We’re working closely with our preferred vendors to continue “on-demand” pick-up of bulk and bagged salt products.

Infographic of body copy

Action plan to manage Ontario Salt Shortage

If you’re interested in more information about snow removal or the Ontario salt shortage, feel free to call us at 519-699-0772 at anytime. 

Interesting links:
MetalPless LiveEdge

Ontario Salt Shortage

Salt shortages are anticipated for the 2018/2019 winter season.

What’s causing the salt shortage?

1.) The 2017/2018 winter season was long with many ice events which depleted local salt inventory levels including a large ice storm in mid/late April. This resulted in the local mines starting out with less salt in their inventory levels than would normally be anticipated at the end of a winter season.

2.) Employees of Compass Minerals that operates the largest salt mine in Goderich were on strike for 11 weeks from the end of April to the end of July resulting in decreased production at the mine.

3.) Municipalities are purchasing more salt than in prior years. Salt mines must fulfill the purchase orders for government contracts before they will sell to the depots and independent contractors.


Get the facts about Ontario’s salt shortage

Tips on Hiring a Commercial Snow Removal Contractor

Are you looking for a commercial snow removal contractor for your business?

Whether you’re considering Snow Tech or any other company as your commercial snow removal contractor there are a few standard questions that you should ask.

1.) How many years have you been in business?

Ideally you would like a contractor with a minimum of 5+ years of experience. You want to know they will be around all season and can manage the fluctuations between a heavy and light snow removal season.

2.) Can you send me references that are relevant to my type of business?

At this point, you are looking for snow removal references that have worked with the snow plow contractor for multiple years. Snow removal customers that stick with the same company year-after-year demonstrates that the company is dependable and good to work with.

3.) How much equipment do you have for back-up?

You want to make sure that they are running adequate equipment to manage your facilities and all of the other parking lots on their routes. If they don’t have enough back-up equipment, you could be left without your lot getting plowed in the event of a break down.

4.) Do you have the right insurance?

Ask for an insurance certificate proving that your property has been added to the snow removal companies’ insurance policy. Ideally, you are looking for a company with at least $5,000,000 in liability coverage.

5.) Do you have WSIB coverage?

Again, ask for a clearance certificate so you know their WSIB account is in good standing.

6.) Do I have to pay for extra plows?

Make sure you review the snow plow events that are included in the contract in detail so you fully understand in advance what your invoice will look like. There is no right or wrong answer here, you just want to make sure you know what you are buying.

It’s time to renew your snow removal contract

Early fall is the best time to renew your commercial snow plowing contract. If your existing snow removal contractor hasn’t reach out to you already, you’ll want to contact them as soon as possible.

Benefits of renewing your snow removal contract early:

  1. You can often secure a better placement on the route of your snow removal provider if you confirm early
  2. Secure the same rate as last season
  3. Peace of mind

If you don’t renew your contract, you could be left without a snow removal service provider at the start of the season. The best snow removal providers do fill up and often don’t have the capacity to take on additional clients mid-season. Because of the nature of snow removal, each piece of equipment can only service a set number of properties per night.