July 1, 2014

City could use brine

more for icy streets

West Allis might join the communities that now use brine or salt water to keep roads clear of ice and snow.

After a pilot program last winter, the consensus on the West Allis Public Works Committee is to explore a full program. At this point, the estimated start-up cost is $270,000 that includes mixing equipment, equipment that could be used to treat streets before it snows and even a building to store it in.

The annual tab for salt is more than $300,000, said Michael Lewis, public works director. He said he hopes the city could save a quarter or a third of that.

The city would still use salt, he said. The brine itself would include additives such as beet juice, he said, so that it would be effective at lower temperatures, Lewis said.

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