Is Salt Brine The Solution To Snow Covered Roads?

By: Zachary Meseck

Is salt brine the solution to snow covered roads?

NEW BERLIN – Village of New Berlin officials voted Tuesday to try what they said was an environmentally and economically friendly way of keeping their roads clear following a presentation from a Village of Hamilton representative.

On Tuesday night at the Village of New Berlin board meeting, officials voted to begin using salt brine as another form of snow deterrent on village roads.

The decision to start using the new product came after a presentation from Village of Hamilton Department of Public Works (DPW) Superintendent Randy Weaver where he highlighted the benefits of salt brine, including environmental friendliness, cost reduction, product effectiveness, and reduced start-up costs as Hamilton would allow them to use a several thousand dollar distribution device for a year, charge free.

However in a separate interview, Village of Sherburne Electric and DPW Superintendent Travis DuBois said while the solution can work for municipalities that have multiple road clearing shifts, the combination of salt and dirt has proven more effective for a municipality that doesn't.

"We tried using salt brine, but it just wasn't strong enough to keep the roads clear," said DuBois. "I know other municipalities use and enjoy it, but for an operation like ours, the extra equipment and manpower hours needed to make it effective outweighed its usefulness."

According to Weaver, salt brine is basically a mixture of salt and water, with an occasional addition of magnesium chloride for temperatures under approximately 20 degrees fahrenheit.

Weaver presented the board with comparison photos of a couple of village roads that were treated on Friday with dirt and salt verses roads that were treated with salt brine.

"The only way to really see the difference is to compare the results side by side," said Weaver. "Salt brine can save a municipality a considerable sum in salt, dirt, and overtime costs."

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