Web Exclusive: Breaking the ice

Cincinatti suburb strives to meet high expectations in snow and ice removal operations

Winter Maintenance Article May 24, 2017
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Rain barrel system used by the Public Works Department

The city of Montgomery, Ohio, is a suburb of the greater Cincinnati area and is located approximately 15 miles northeast of downtown Cincinnati. An affluent community with a population of 10,261, the expectations and demands on the Public Works Department to maintain 95 lane miles of roadway during the winter months is at a high level. 

 

The primary objective and commitment of the department is that “snow and ice control on roadways and public property is an essential municipal service, necessary for public safety, daily mobility and the elimination of delays for emergency vehicles, the motoring public and pedestrians at public facilities”.

 

All work to implement the liquid tank system was completed with public works staff.

All work to implement the liquid tank system was completed with public works staff.

 

Ice: be gone

A new deicing rock-salt storage facility was built to increase the storage capacity of deicing rock salt from 600 tons to 1,800 tons and provides the city opportunities to leverage the market. The Public Works Department also installed a liquid tank system with a total capacity of 17,000 gal of a combination of liquid alternative products to supplement the snow operation process. The department researched and investigated various liquid alternatives and approaches, and ultimately chose a liquid product called “Ice B’Gone Magic” which is a combination of 50-60% magnesium chloride and 40-50% distillers condensed solubles (DCS). The liquid tank system is set up to allow staff to use salt brine, a mixture of salt brine and Ice B’Gone Magic, or straight Ice B’Gone Magic depending on the temperatures and future forecasts.

 

Rain barrel system used by the Public Works Department

Rain barrel system used by the Public Works Department

 

The fleet to combat snow and ice consists of two 5-ton dump trucks with plows and spreaders, five 1-ton dump trucks with plows and spreaders, five pickup trucks with plows, two backhoes, one Bobcat machine, two liquid spray tanks, and one salt brine maker. Trucks are fitted with plows, and spreaders contain pre-wetting application systems and ground-mounted technology, which allows operators the ability to control chemical dispensing. The latest technology in plow blades as well as truck-mounted cameras also are included in these vehicles to assist the operator, creating a much safer environment when maneuvering vehicles.

 

The Snow & Ice Policy and Guidelines document covers a wide variety of areas including: snow removal preparation; safety; weather conditions—deicing chemical selections; icing problems—emergency call out notification; cleanup procedures; housekeeping and environmental policy; inspection program salt storage facility; snow removal routes; and snow emergency declaration guidelines.

 

Trucks ready for snow and ice operations

Trucks ready for snow and ice operations

 

Staying in touch

The city of Montgomery prides itself on communications and getting information out to residents and businesses. A wide variety of tools are utilized to educate the public on the city’s snow operations including the city of Montgomery website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, CodeRED call center during snow emergencies and the Montgomery Bulletin, which is distributed monthly to all residents and businesses in the city of Montgomery. 

 

The construction of a 5,000-gal rain-harvesting system at the Public Works facility allows staff to use rainwater harvested from the roof of the facility to make salt brine. The city of Montgomery is extremely proud of the steps taken that have contributed to protecting the environment. The Public Works Department was one of two public works agencies that received the American Public Works Association (APWA) 2017 Excellence in Snow and Ice Control Awards, an honor established to promote and recognize agencies that have implemented the best practices in snow and ice removal that also minimize environmental impacts. 

 

Public works staff utilizes rainwater to make salt brine

Public works staff utilizes rainwater to make salt brine

 

In addition, the Public Works Department staff participates in classroom seminars provided by the Ohio Department of Transportation regarding safe driving techniques, the latest technology and research, and best practice approaches. Each year the Public Works Officials of Southwest Ohio (PWOSO) host a “Snow Plow Roadeo” in which public works staff from a variety of jurisdictions compete in an obstacle course to prepare drivers for the upcoming winter season, while emphasizing safe driving practices. The Montgomery Public Works Department is actively involved in PWOSO and provides support and sends staff to the event on an annual basis.

 

About the author: 
Riblet is public works director for the city of Montgomery, Ohio.
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