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Sussex experiments with salt brine to combat ice, snow on winter roads

June 16, 2014

Village of Sussex – With winter clean-up costs packing a punch on many municipalities' public works budgets, community leaders throughout the region are looking at ways to mitigate some of the high costs.

Sussex is following suit with a new method that calls for laying down salt brine when the threat of snow and ice becomes imminent. On Tuesday, June 10, the village board voted to move forward with the treatment this winter.

"Using salt brine on our roads will improve the quality of our winter weather plowing operations significantly and will save the village money, moving forward," Scott Ascher, the village's public works foreman, said.

There are one-time costs associated with switching from the traditional salt and sand method to the salt brine procedure. Village vehicles will need to be outfitted with new equipment – including side-mounted brine tanks – that will result in a $96,750 expense.

But after crunching a series of numbers, Ascher and Assistant Village Manager Melissa Weiss assert the village stands to save $16,000 annually by switching methods.

Ascher said salt brine has proven effective as an anti-ice treatment because it slows the formation of ice on streets and works against the bonding that traditionally takes place when snow and ice form together on pavement.

"If brine is used as a pre-wet system, mixing with the salt on the truck as it is spreading, it makes the salt more effective in less time," Ascher said. "Using salt brine in this manner is more effective, efficient and environmentally friendly."

Ascher said other communities that have used salt brine as a treatment method have reported a reduction in salt use by about 20 percent throughout each winter season. The scenario has proven cost-effective from the standpoint of supplies and manpower.

When brine is used as a pre-wet system, meaning it is applied to roads 24 to 48 hours in advance of a snow event, it helps prevent the bond of snow and ice to the pavement, reducing the amount of salt needed during the actual event," Ascher said. "(It) reduces staff time on the road during the event."

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Rotary Pancake Day: 7:30 a.m. Feb. 28, Waukesha County Expo Center, 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha. Fundraiser for the Waukesha Rotary Club is 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Expo Center Arena. Advance tickets at Waukesha State Bank, downtown location., $5-$7. $5 advance, $7 at the door; free for children 5 and younger. www.waukesharotary.org.

Ninth Annual Oconomowoc Rotary Wine & Brew Fest: 5 p.m. Feb. 28, Olympia Resort, 1350 Royale Mile Rd, Oconomowoc. Wine, food and beer. Features foods from the best of our local restaurants. Purchase tickets at $50 from an O-Town Rotarian, through Facebook, or in person at most area First Bank Financial Centre locations, Books & Company & Lorleberg True Value Hardware. See more at www.oconomowocrotary.org. $50.

Chili Tasting: 11 a.m. Feb. 28, The Garden Mart, W297 S9115 Highway 83, Mukwonago. Chili tasting from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local vendors will be selling unique merchandise. Judging is open to the public and all proceeds from voting will be donated to the Mukwonago Food Pantry. Event is free. Call (262) 363-5252 for information.

Dr. Seuss Birthday Bash Literacy Event: 10 a.m. Feb. 28, Hartland North Elementary, 232 Church Street, Hartland. Families with children in 4-year old kindergarten through second grade are invited to a special event. The Cat in the Hat and the Lorax will celebrate with a big birthday cake for all of our guests along with lots of literacy activities based around Dr. Seuss books.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings.