RosZimDor, the Russian Association of Winter Road Maintenance, has announced a drive towards a federal set of standards and regulations of anti-icing materials, the way they are used, and how they are developed nationwide.

Currently, there is no unified set of rules in Russia that govern exactly how the municipalities deal with snow and ice removal from their roads and highways. Local governments are left to experiment on their own. This issue is particularly acute in many large northern municipalities, where local authorities have to resort to the use of industrial waste, salt, ash, sand, and other non-traditional anti-icing materials, all of which may pose ecological issues and cause other complications, according to RosZimDor. The existing legal and professional standards on the use and application of anti-icing materials are just too weak or unrefined.

Says the lab head of hygiene of soil at the State Scientific Research Institute of Sysyn, prof. Igor Kryatov: “The main problem in the entire issue of icing and its removal effort is that there is no quality control framework in place on the subcontractors’ side,” said Igor Kryatov, the lab head of hygiene of soil at the State Scientific Research Institute of Sysyn. “Despite the fact that all of the anti-icing materials in Moscow are tested by the labs and have to pass those tests on many parameters, including ecological and sanitary standards, there are no guarantees in place to assure us that the roadway maintenance will end up applying exactly those materials that passed, or that they will be applying them properly. Hence, there is a need to create a unified commission and a unified code, and to implement that code throughout the system: from the supplier down to the roadway maintenance.”

According to RosZimDor, Moscow is one of the country’s pioneers in establishing a very detailed, rigorous and transparent approach towards procurement, storage and application of the anti-icing materials. What happens on the wintry roadways of other towns and cities in Russia, where no such system exists – is anyone’s guess.

“A Similar problem has been dealt with in France,” said Sergey Mizitov, one of the chief experts of the Association. “As soon as roadway maintenance abandoned the use of technical salt and started applying more efficient anti-icing materials, the department of ecology in concert with transport authorities wrote a new code, which established exactly every parameter of such materials permissible for use in France, be it safety, ecology or its corrosiveness. Substances that are not in line with this set of rules are not permissible for use. We only have such system in Moscow, and no one could attest as to how safe the anti-acing materials are in use in other cities, or even exactly what it is that is in them. ”