Where Does The Washington State Department Of Transportation Get Its Road Salt?

Have you ever wondered where all the road salt that keeps our roads safe during the winter comes from?


Here Are Six Ways That WA State DOT Keeps The Roads Safe And Clean In Winter

If you're living in Washington State, you'll be glad to know that our Department of Transportation (DOT) is well-prepared for the snowy season but where does the road salt come from?

That's the 1000-dollar question!

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According to the WA DOT website, here 6 ways that the road crews keep the roads safe and clear:


Liquid calcium chloride, sodium chloride, or magnesium chloride is applied to a bare road before a storm to:

  • prevent ice from forming on a bare road.
  • reduce the amount of snow buildup.
  • accelerate the snow and ice break up after a storm.


Solid sodium chloride (salt) is applied to remove a thin layer of snow or ice already on the road. It can also be very effective for melting and preventing black ice and freezing rain from adhering to the road


Wetting solid chemical material and sand with calcium or magnesium chloride causes them to stick to the road surface better, helps activate the solid salt, and reduces corrosion.



While not used as much as in years past, sand is still used in road treatment, particularly in colder weather. Sand can blow off roadways fairly, quickly, however, and can cause cleanup and water quality concerns if it enters nearby waterways.

Corrosion inhibitors

DOT adds corrosion inhibitors – products to help prevent corrosion – to their treatment products to reduce corrosion on vehicles traveling over the roadways.

Environmental factors

Salt, chemicals, and sand all have potential environmental concerns, which is why we train operators to apply only as much as necessary.


Washington State Department of Transportation maintains 500 plows and a stockpile of thousands of tons of salt and sand and millions of gallons of liquid deicer and according to a Seattle Times article, a lot of Washington State's road salt is imported from South America.

So there you go in a nutshell on where the road salt in Washington State comes from.

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