City's new brine-machine makes it easier to clear snowy roads

10 months 1 day 6 hours ago Thursday, December 14 2017 Dec 14, 2017 Thursday, December 14, 2017 4:04:00 PM CST December 14, 2017 in News
By: Maia McDonald, KOMU 8 News Reporter

COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia has new aid in fighting snowy roads this with the help of its new brine-making machine. 

With money they saved due to mild winter weather during late 2016 and early 2017, the city was able to purchase brine-making equipment. 

"It's designed to make brine and  pre-wet salt and create a salt and brine and beet-juice mixture that we'll apply to the streets as a pre-treatment when we need to lower the melting temperature of the ice," said Barry Dalton, Public Information Officer for the City of Columbia Public Works Department.

The machine was purchased from Henderson Truck Equipment in Fulton for just over $55,000 through a bidding process. The city council land staff authorized the purchase of the brine-making equipment which was then purchased neat the end of fiscal year 2017. Dalton says the new machine will help to make snow removal more efficient in the future.

Dalton added that although the brine won't completely replace salt, it should be a great help.

"Hopefully we can reduce the amount of calcium-chloride that we use on the streets. It will be less damaging to the concrete when we treat the streets in the winter," Dalton said.

"We'll always be using salt. We have 5,000 tons of salt in our salt dome. In addition to salt, we also use liquid solutions, like brine, to pre-treat bridges, and inclines, and intersections," Dalton said. 

Although brine itself can be damaging to the streets, Dalton says the liquid solution can be a good alternative to the usual rock salt the city uses for snow removal during winters.

"Even brine machine that this machine will help create is damaging to the concrete, but much less so than pure solutions of salt so we try to mix salt, brine, beet juice, particularly those last two. So this machine will allow us to do that more rapidly in subfreezing temperatures," Dalton said.

For now, Dalton says the city will just be testing the machine until next winter when it should be fully operational. 

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