Monitoring of salt storage silos and brine tanks, ensuring winter road safety

Road salt silos and brine tanks hardly attract attention. They are the kind of anodyne elements that are hard to notice, cornered on the margins of the roads.

But their assistance is essential to ensure winter maintenance. In this way, they help to keep the roads passable when the rigors of winter make themselves felt.

How to improve the management of these facilities, optimizing resources and increasing efficiency? With the opportunities offered by monitoring technologies based on IoT (Internet of Things).

Remote control of salt silos for roads in Castilla y León, a project with Arantec’s imprint

And showing the advantages of IoT is exactly what we are going to do in Castilla y León.

In March 2022, the Junta de Castilla y León put out to tender an innovative and ambitious plan to remotely monitor the filling level of the flux storage facilities, and we were awarded the contract.

This initiative is part of the “Territorio Rural Inteligente de Castilla y León” project, financed with European ERDF funds. The objectives of this strategy are to employ IoT technology to:

  • improve the efficiency of public services;
  • offer 4.0 services that contribute to reducing the exodus from rural areas;
  • create business opportunities for SMEs, and
  • improve the quality of life.

Ensuring traffic during the winter months undoubtedly contributes to achieving these goals, while also reinforcing the civil protection operations of the Junta de Castilla y León.

Remote monitoring of flux storage facilities in detail

The project involves the supply, configuration, installation and maintenance of:

  • 12 volumetric filling sensors for salt silos and brine tanks;
  • 68 volumetric filling sensors with built-in weather station that will monitor temperature, humidity and wind speed and direction, and
  • 34 fixed weather stations with temperature, humidity and road temperature sensors to detect the possible presence of ice.

The sensors, which can be connected via different wireless technologies (wifi, LoRa, NBIoT, etc.) depending on the location, will send the information to a management application (our Smartyplanet web solution) and to the Rural Territory project platform (FIWARE).

What are we going to achieve with this remote control of road salt silos, brine tanks and weather station deployment? Several benefits:

  • Know in detail and in real time the amount of flux stored.
  • Reduce manual inspections, which are not without danger.
  • Gathering useful information that will help optimize resources.
  • Make more effective use of salt and brine, prioritizing its application in the most at-risk areas.
  • Reduce the environmental impact generated by these fluxes.

What is the impact of these fluxes on ecosystems and infrastructure?

Quite a bit higher than it seems, according to what several studies have shown.

Therefore, at Arantec we believe that this road salt silo control project also has a positive impact on the environment.

After all, their detailed monitoring and the information transmitted by weather stations as a road weather information system will make it possible to make more effective use of salt and brine, prioritizing their application in the areas most at risk.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Why are salt and brine used to deal with ice?

Salt and brine (water with a high salt concentration) have the ability to melt ice, which is one of the most dangerous factors when driving. But its main advantage is that it hinders their formation, so its use on the roads is preventive in nature.

By adding salt or sodium chloride (NaCl), we get the freezing temperature below 0 ºC. Its addition is useful up to -5 ºC, at which temperature it is mixed with calcium chloride (CaCl2), which increases the efficiency up to -35 ºC.

What are the negative effects?

These fluxes increase road safety during the winter months which, in areas such as Castilla y León, can be quite harsh.

However, they also have negative aspects, such as environmental impacts or the corrosion they cause. Thus, countries such as Canada banned its use, although they have taken it up again after winter accidents skyrocketed.

Regarding ecosystems, one of the main problems is the salinization of rivers, streams and lakes. And one of the direct consequences of this pollution is, for example, the decline in the number and diversity of zooplankton, as demonstrated by a recent US study.

Another concern is its corrosive effects, both on vehicles and on the road itself, especially on reinforced concrete structures and bituminous pavements.


With this project, Arantec once again demonstrates the usefulness of technology to improve the quality of life and, as in this case, to increase safety at the wheel.

On this occasion, we monitor road salt silos and brine tanks.

But these advances are also valid for remote control of other containers such as water tanks or grain silos.

We have the knowledge and we have the tools. We only need you to give this type of progress a chance…

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