Town DPW improve road salt with brine treatment

   Highway departments are looking for ways to save money, especially now with tight budgets and a hard winter in front of them. AKZO Nobel Salt, Inc. is helping nine town highway departments in Livingston County stretch their rock salt supplies by donating brine to treat the salt with just before it is spread on the highway.

   The Towns of Leicester, Caledonia, York, Lima, Conesus, West Sparta, Mt. Morris, Nunda and Portage all received a brine tank system free of charge from AKZO as well as a quantity of brine. The brine tank system attaches to the highway plow/sander truck and sprays the rock salt as it is distributed on the highway.

   Jay Smith, a consultant to AKZO Nobel has studied the effects of brine treatment on rock salt and estimates that the process reduces the amount of rock salt needed to treat highways by one-third. Treating with brine allows the rock salt to work at a much faster rate melting the snow and ice build up on roadways.

   "I estimate that it will save us 20 to 30 percent on our salt usage," said Caledonia Town Highway Superintendent Mark Schroeder.

   He ordered 1,500 tons of salt from American Rock Salt in Retsof for the 2008-09 winter seasons. Heís used a large portion of that supply already and thereís still two months of winter remaining. Schroeder stores the brine at the town highway department in a tank located next to the salt barn and the truck garage. So far, heís impressed with the results of the brine treatment and plans to purchase additional tanks for other trucks in the highway departmentís fleet.

   The Town of Caledonia DPW works very hard to keep highways and rural roads snow and ice free and safe for motorists to drive on even in the most difficult of weather situations. Schroeder says residents can help the DPW in their efforts by adhering to the local laws, which prohibits residents from pushing snow across highways, placing or piling snow on the road shoulder or ditches or leaving vehicles on the side of the road. These practices prevent highway trucks from being able to thoroughly clean the roadways.

   In addition, Schroeder reminds homeowners that any minor damage done to individual mailboxes, either by the plow directly or by snow thrown by the plow, is not done intentionally but is an unfortunate consequence of snow removal. Residents should be careful not to place mailboxes too close to the public highway or in the path of the snow plow trucks. Plastic mailboxes seem to suffer the worst damage during the plowing season, Schroeder pointed out.

   With at least two more months of winter ahead, town DPW crews undoubtedly will spend many more hours in the plow trucks, clearing roadways and spreading salt.

Caledonia DPW Superintendent Mark Schroeder points to a brine treatment tank attached to a plow/sander highway truck. AKZO Nobel donated a system to nine different Livingston County town highway departments.


Caledonia stores brine donated by AKZO Nobel in a tank located
at the highway department.