of Osgood and the county partner
together saves money
English Burnett, Editor
An idea and some research led two local entities to the right
solution to save money when treating roadways for snow and ice.
Its called brine.
Brine is a liquid made with salt and chemicals that is spread
on the road before snow or ice hits it.
The concept is not new, not even to the Ripley County Highway
Department, who is one owner of the new system. The Town of Osgood
is the other agency involved.
Actually, back in November of 2008, Osgood Gas and Street Superintendent
Steve Wilhoit realized his budget was not sufficient to purchase
the amount of salt that might be needed for the towns streets.
With a budget of $1500 to buy salt, Wilhoit told the Osgood Journal,
I knew we just couldnt do it.
The cost of salt had more than tripled from last year going from
$43 a ton to $150 a ton.
Quickly doing the math, Wilhoit said it would take approximately
five-ton of salt to make one round for all the streets in Osgood.
One snow event could take nearly half of his budget.
Wilhoit said he saw the state and county trucks spreading the
liquid solution and thought, Why not Osgood?
He began to research and then partnered with Junior Heaton at
the county to get his input. The county had gotten the brine solution
in the past from Switzerland County. This year they were told
they would not be able to get any more from that county.
Employees from Osgood and the county highway took what Wilhoit
describes as field trips to see how the brine solution
was made. They toured the Switzerland County facility only to
discover the price was way out of their league, about $60,000.
Then they went to Ohio County where they found the price to be
affordable and heard only positive comments about the overall
use of brine over salt.
Wilhoit said he was told the little towns have a greater advantage
even over the county because their streets are traveled more.
When the vehicles drive over the solution, it is activated, making
it ready for the snow or ice. When the winter elements then fall,
they melt on contact.
The solution can be sprayed on the roads 48 hours in advance of
a forecasted storm providing the roads are dry. Overtime for employees
is nearly eliminated with this process.
Wilhoit said one round of brine on the streets of Osgood will
cost about $150.
The system to make the brine solution and tanks to hold the liquid
will be housed at the Ripley County Highway Garage and should
be completely installed this week. We hope to be up and
running by the first of February, Wilhoit noted.
The cost to put the system in place is $13,633.90, according to
Wilhoit and that will be shared by the Town of Osgood and the
county. There will be a mixing tank and three holding tanks.
The solution will take about 2000 pounds of salt to create 1000
gallons of brine. Wilhoit explained it can be sprayed on dry roads
even at 15 degrees. He noted there is a certain mix of calcium
chloride that can even be used when the temperature dips to zero.
Wilhoit and street employee Tim Kreutzjans, designed their own
system for the towns truck. They bought a large plastic
tank for around $600. Then they fabricated the metal for the back
frame, drilled holes in PVC pipes and with a little hardware,
their truck is ready. We couldnt have bought it for
less than $3,000, Wilhoit noted.
County Highway Superintendent Junior Heaton said, I think
its a great deal. He is excited about the partnership
with Osgood and believes it will also benefit other local municipalities.
The plan is to offer the brine solution to other towns at a rate
less than they would pay for salt. That money would be used to
maintain the system.
Its a win-win situation, Wilhoit concluded,
noting the plan is to save money, make the streets and sidewalks
cleaner, sooner, and use less of a natural resource, salt.
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT
Pictured are Gas and Street Superintendent Steve Wilhoit,
right, and Tim Kreutzjans, as they check out the new system
they designed to spray brine solution on the streets of
Osgood. The two fabricated the metal and put the system
together, saving the town hundreds of dollars.