By Shannon Caulfield
Township council recently passed a resolution awarding a contract worth $232,800 to build an in-house salt-brine system to help battle dangerous road conditions in the winter. The system is slated to save the township both time and money
According to Steve Musilli, director of public works, there will be a mixing station where road salt is mixed with water into a solution and it’s transported into a storage tank.
Rock salt is mixed with water into a 23 percent dilution. When applied to the road surface, the water evaporates, leaving the salt.
“The salt residue is left and stops any bonding from the roadway surface to the snow,” Musillli said. “It doesn’t allow the snow to stick.”
According to communications director Bridget Palmer, traditional rock salt is $58-$62 a ton and brine is 7-10 cents per gallon, a 15 percent savings for the township.
“We don’t expect it will completely eliminate salt and sand but it will reduce the need greatly,” Palmer said.
Musilli echoed Palmer, noting there will be a reduced need for sand and salt, both of which are destructive to the road and cars.
“It’s much better for any type of car in regard to rust and corrosion,” Musilli said.
According to Musilli, public works employees will be able to apply the salt brine solution up to five days prior to the weather event, depending on the moisture in the air.
The more moisture, the closer to the storm the township will apply the brine.
“Standard salting cannot be done before a storm. Standard salting is better immediately upon the storm,” Musilli said. “If a storm is a Saturday or Sunday, we could apply the brine solution Friday or even a few days before and save the overtime costs.”
The public works department is expecting the applicators, which will be attached to dump trucks, to arrive by November.
In addition, the system, which will make the salt brine, will be completed some time before the beginning of the season, Musilli said.
“It’s under contract. We’re in the process now of the doing the plumbing and electrical work to install the mixing station,” Musilli said.
According to Palmer, the township expects to recoup the money spent on the system in the next three years: “The system will pay for itself over time.”
“We’ve seen in the last few years, especially last year, a more mild winter, but certainly one of our biggest tasks now is snow removal,” Palmer said. “We’re looking forward to implementing the system and doing the job more efficiently.”