Brine maker cuts costs, boosts production

Case Studies
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With a highly regarded reputation for snow and ice control already established, the city of Beloit, Wis., recently received the 2009 APWA Snow and Ice Excellence Award, a highly competitive recognition by the American Public Works Association. Upon acceptance of the award, the city received additional acclaim from APWA officials. “Mark DeVries, chair of the APWA winter maintenance committee, made a statement that the city of Beloit is a national role model for the implementation of snow and ice removal,” said Chris Walsh, director of operations for the city of Beloit.

She acknowledged the city routinely operates ahead of the curve when it comes to public works, but credits the Cargill AccuBrine automatic brine-making system for transforming its winter road maintenance into a cutting-edge process that includes custom production and smarter, more cost-effective application processes.

“Before the [system], our operators were used to just distributing a pre-made liquid,” Walsh recalled. “Now, they are responsible for manufacturing our specially formulated liquids through the use of the system, and that transition provided our operators with a higher degree of expertise.”

“We have half a dozen operators and technicians who are trained to run the system,” Walsh continued. “This responsibility has increased consistency with operators, and they have really stepped up to the plate.”

Going to bat for the new brine-making system caused a more proactive approach to combating winter storms, which saves the city thousands in operating costs.

“Our pre-wet system allows us to make the right blend of products and then pre-spray to combat a storm before it happens,” Walsh said. “Without the AccuBrine [system technology], we couldn’t do that.

“With this process, we’ve cut off hours of overtime and truck usage if we spray pre-storm, and that’s a big cost savings. We don’t need to have our guys stationed out on interstates before a storm hits because the product we’re using keeps our roads bare for that long after a pre-spray. That’s a huge savings if you look at conserving truck operation, additional product and employee overtime.”

Additional costs savings filter in through the production process as well, Walsh added. “We use well over 49,000 gallons in a year, and before purchasing the system, we couldn’t make our own brine,” she said. “Brine is a lot less expensive to make when compared to buying blended products. We can make brine now for about 10 cents a gallon, and we were previously buying blended products for around $2.50 a gallon, and that’s a huge savings.”

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