Indiana municipalities join forces to fight snow, budget crunch

Case Studies
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The city of Anderson and Madison County, Ind., wanted to save money on winter maintenance. After co-investing in a state-of-the-art automated brine maker , the two municipalities have nearly recouped their investment—in just one year.

“Looking at my salt barn, I know the brine maker has paid for itself already,” said Todd Leever, street commissioner for the city of Anderson. “After a season of pretreating with brine, I still have a thousand tons of salt. In 10 years, that’s never happened.”

Scott Harless, superintendent for Madison County Highways, agreed, noting that even though official budget numbers are not yet calculated for the season, the cost savings are more than either of the municipalities expected.

“We each paid for half the cost of the system, so teaming up together saved money to begin with, but the savings we’ve experienced after using the system is amazing,” Harless said. “Even if the numbers aren’t quite there this year, by next year we will for sure have covered our costs.”

The city and county purchased an AccuBrine automated brine maker from Cargill Deicing Technology. The system produces up to 5,000 gal of salt brine per hour and pumps directly into the 10,000-gal storage tank housed at the county facility and shared by both organizations.

Predominantly treating their roadways with salt, a sand-salt mix and the occasional calcium-chloride treatment, Harless and Leever wanted to change their practices after hearing about the cost savings associated with brine pretreatment.

“We did our research, and everything said that using brine cuts costs in terms of time, fuel, labor, vehicle maintenance and salt use,” Leever said. “Once we were convinced of the effectiveness of the application, we needed to find the right system to make it.”

Furthering their economical partnership, the two municipalities continue dividing costs by utilizing advanced programming features within the system to track individual consumption.

“It’s all set up on a key-code system in the machine,” Harless said. “The system tells us exactly how much brine my organization uses and how much Todd’s organization uses, and we keep track of the costs. It’s real simple.”

And while the two organizations continue to benefit, the taxpayers themselves benefit from wetter, clearer roads and safer winter driving conditions.

“We get wetter pavement quicker and we’re saving money,” Leever said. “Many residents called and commented that this was the best they’ve seen winter streets in years. Residents are happy, the mayor is happy and the county commission is happy. And that makes us happy.”

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