Hugh Pickens DOT Com
writes: The NYT reports that Milwaukee has begun a pilot program to use cheese brine to keep city roads from freezing, mixing the dairy waste with traditional rock salt as a way to trim costs and ease pollution. “You want to use provolone or mozzarella,” says Jeffrey A. Tews, the fleet operations manager for the public works department, which has spread the cheesy substance in Bay View, a neighborhood on Milwaukee’s south side. “Those have the best salt content. You have to do practically nothing to it.” Local governments across the country have been experimenting with cheaper and environmentally friendly ways of thawing icy thoroughfares, trying everything from sugar beet juice to discarded brewery grain in an attempt to limit the use of road salt, which can spread too thin, wash away and pollute waterways. “If you put dry salt on a roadway, you typically lose 30 percent to bounce and traffic,” says Emil Norby, who works for Polk County and was the first in Wisconsin to come up with the cheese brine idea to help the salt stick. In a state where lawmakers once honored the bacterium in Monterey Jack as the state’s official microbe, residents of Bay View say they have noticed little difference, good or bad, in the smell of their streets, and city officials say they have received no complaints. The mayor of Bay View says it's an experiment, but one that makes sense. The brine will come from the Dresser Farm in Polk County, where it is already being used on the roads. The only cost will be for transportation and distribution. "We thought, 'Well, let's give it a shot.' The investment in this project is $1,474."