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Published: Wednesday, 2/10/2010

Sylvania Township, county to share salt-brine depot project

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Sylvania Township and Lucas County will cooperatively build a salt-brine mixing and storage depot on township property to improve the efficiency of roadway ice control in northwestern Lucas County.

Township trustees last week approved spending $9,178 to buy salt-brine production equipment for installation at the township garage. The equipment makes up nearly half the project's $19,801 total estimated cost, which also includes $5,640 from the county for two storage tanks. The balance of the cost is budgeted for site preparation.

Gregory Huffman, the township's public works manager, said the depot, to be built during the next few weeks, will save both township and county truck drivers as much as an hour that is wasted driving to the county's garage in Maumee to reload with salt brine.

Sylvania Township will buy the brine-making equipment from GVM Snow Equipment of Bellevue, Ohio, under a pre-set price through the Ohio Cooperative Purchasing Program.

Salt brine has become increasingly popular with highway agencies as a supplement to applying dry rock salt to pavement to melt ice.

The brine - in essence, highly concentrated salt water - can be sprayed on pavement before a storm's arrival and weakens the bond between it and ice or snow. It reduces the amount of salt needed to keep highways clear and also reduces waste and ecological damage when rock salt bounces off roadways into the berms.

Mr. Huffman said the township further enhances brine's effectiveness by mixing in a beet-juice extract that lowers the melting point below the temperatures at which salt alone is no longer effective. The mixture also is less corrosive to metal on vehicles and bridges.

"We prefer to avoid harsh chemicals such as calcium chloride," the public works manager said. "We need to protect our environment while serving the community."

Lucas County Engineer Keith Earley said the beet extract also makes the brine stick to the pavement better. "It will be an advantage for us" to use the Sylvania Township depot for brine-truck routes on county roads in Sylvania and adjoining townships, Mr. Earley said.

The county already shares the use of salt storage sites in several townships, the engineer said, and is "looking at other cooperative opportunities to save money."



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