Do Deicing Agents Affect the Quality and Quantity of Aliphatic and Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons in Asphalt Pavements?

K.M. Kalevi, J.M. Salminen*
Centre for Comsumption and Production, Finnish Environment Institute, P.O. Box 140, FI-00251 Helsinki, Finland.

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© 2011 Kalevi and Salminen.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Centre for Comsumption and Production, Finnish Environment Institute, P.O. Box 140, FI-00251 Helsinki, Finland; Tel: +35840014861; Fax: +358954902391; E-mail:


Chemical deicing plays a fundamental role for traffic safety on roads and runways in winter season. Traditional deicing chemicals, such as sodium chloride and urea have, however, undesirable effects on surface and ground waters. For more sustainable road and runway winter maintenance, easily biodegradable organic salts such as acetates and formates, have been proposed and taken into use. Next to environmental impacts, deicing chemicals may also affect asphalt pavements. This paper investigates whether traditional or alternative deicers change the quality or quantity of polyaromatic and aliphatic petroleum hydrocarbons in asphalt pavements. Asphalt core samples were taken from two highways and two airports in Finland and analyzed for polyaromatic and aliphatic petroleum hydrocarbons, residual deicer chemicals, and hydraulic conductivities. Results for similar pavements exposed to different deicers were compared. In addition, heat treatment experiments were conducted for the core samples. The current study shows that deicers change neither the quality nor the quantity of polyaromatic and aliphatic petroleum hydrocarbons. No changes were recorded in samples heated up to 100 oC.

Keywords: Deicing, Asphalt pavements, Bitumen, Airport runways, Highway and road management.