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SE Wisconsin municipalities working to reduce amount of salt used on roads

snow plow
Posted at 5:08 PM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 18:34:20-04

MILWAUKEE — While we haven't seen the first snowfall of the season, several municipalities met Wednesday to exchange ideas on how to be cost effective, environmentally friendly and keep motorists safe.

The city of Cudahy has been able to save taxpayers thousands of dollars on their salting practices.

Cudahy Public Works Superintendent Scott Rewolinsky said his team can adjust how many pounds of salt they put on the road, which in turn saves them from wasting salt.

"We started with the calibration at first and that saved us the most money," Rewolinsky said. "What we thought was, we were putting down 300 pounds per line mile. We found out we were actually dispensing like 6 to 700 pounds."

Properly calibrating the salting equipment has resulted in a savings of roughly $60,000 annually for the city.

They also were able to invest in an anti-icing truck that holds brine, a salt and water mix.

Brine, unlike regular salt, doesn't bounce around into ditches and road drains that go into our waterways.

Wisconsin Salt Wise Sustainability and Development Coordinator Allison Madison said by adding brine to the rock and salt, when that salt hits the ground, it stays there.

This in turn helps the environment.

"Just like you and I would be stressed out if we were just drinking salt water all the time - that's not good for our bodies," Madison said. "It's also a stressor on freshwater organisms to be in salty water."

So, reducing the amount of salt on roadways has many benefits.

"We protect our water, save dollars, and take care of our environment," Madison added.

Several cities are looking at incorporating some of these practices, if they haven't already.

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