Catch the latest in Salt Wise happenings via YouTube-livestreamed conversations over the noon hour (12-1pm CT) with private contractors, facility managers, and more. Tune in live to ask questions over the chat. Register in advance to receive a reminder email with a direct link the morning of the program.
Green SnowPro: Liability Protection in NH - April 5
New Hampshire's voluntary Commercial Salt Applicator Certification program (Green SnowPro) has been in effect for over a decade. Staff from New Hampshire's Department of Environmental Services will discuss the program's evolution, lessons learned, and how the limited liability protection for Green SnowPro certified contractors has played out in the courts.
Smart Salting: Reviewing the Basics - May 10
When we talk smart salting, liquids get a lot of buzz, but other best practices are equally important. Attention to salting speed, spinner speed, and materials (treated salt vs straight salt), can significantly reduce total salt use. Increasing the efficiency of mechanical removal by choosing the right cutting edge and adjusting your plowing speed has direct implications on salt rates as well. Matt Wittum, Highway Superintendent with the Town of Linn, dives in BMPs that every agency should be using.
A Salt Brine Field Study
Andi Bill and her team at UW-Madison's Traffic Operations and Safety Lab have published the results of a 2-year field study analyzing road conditions after brine or rock salt applications during 50+ storms across Wisconsin. How does brine measure up in terms of time to bare/wet pavement, surface friction, etc.? Spoiler alert: brine kicks asphalt!
American Family Insurance Tracks Salt Savings
American Family Insurance strives to create a safe and healthy environment for employees and waterways. With the help of Salt Wise practices and the creation of internal processes, they have seen an average of 50% reduction in winter salting over the last two years. Controlling pollutants while ensuring safety has become a priority for contractors and in-house staff. Come hear their journey from over-salting to reaching reduction goals.
Looking for a primer on how to incorporate salt brine into your winter maintenance toolbelt? Matt Wittum, Town of Linn Highway Superintendent, is your man. Matt helped design and lead the smart salting training program in northern Illinois before jumping across the border. He has published several articles on brine use and is eager to assist others in any way he can.
When temps drop below 15F salt brine doesn't cut it, but where do you start? Calcium, magnesium, beet juice, proprietary products? 90/10, 80/20? The options for concocting the perfect solution can be overwhelming. Matt Wittum, Highway Superintendent with the Town of Linn, tackles the topic of blending additives into brines and welcomes your input.
Brine on a Budget
Matt Wittum, Highway Superintendent with the Town of Linn, joins us again to advise smaller municipalities or anyone who may be interested in using salt brine but is running into budget issues.
Dive into the key ingredients of traditional ice melters and what influences price with Stacey Balsley, Winter Products Manager at Reinders Inc. Which products really are "pet-friendly," "environmentally-friendly," "effective down to -20F?" Discover the field of non-chlorides. Gain tips to manage your material output and bottom line through calibration.
Direct Liquid Application (DLA)
Bill Kern, Jefferson County Highway Department, will join us to discuss the use of salt brine in winter maintenance operations. The focus will be on direct liquid application during all three phases of a winter storm event: pre-storm, during the storm, and post-storm.
Get Salt Wise with Private Contractors
Owners and managers from private winter maintenance companies in the Madison-area discuss their transitions to Salt Wise practices after attending a Smart Salting workshop. Matt Maier, Envirosealers, Jeremy Johnson, The Bruce Company, and Dan Dean, MAD Plowing & Mowing, will share tips and tricks on application rates that work, brine use for parking lots and sidewalks, and conversations with customers.
Granular & Liquid Deicer Calibration
Calibration is a key best practice in winter maintenance. Properly calibrated equipment helps agencies ensure consistent application rates, gain invaluable data for trials, and determine a viable starting point during an event. Bryan Pickworth, Road Maintenance Supervisor at the City of Farmington Hills, Michigan, has helped share his knowledge on calibration of de-icing equipment at state and national conferences across the US.
Legal and Policy Strategies for Chloride Management
Dave Strifling, J.D. P.E., Director of Marquette University's Water Law and Policy Initiative, will describe a menu of responsive legal and policy options to the problem of chloride pollution. These strategies will include legal protection from slip-and-fall liability, informational strategies to encourage optimal chloride use, green infrastructure and chloride alternative, integrated watershed management, and direct economic measures.
Mayo Clinic says, “Hold the Salt”
From financial savings on salt, to reduced damage to infrastructure, and everything in-between, learn from Nick Queensland, former Facilities Manager, how Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus 50% drop in salt use has been a win-win-win with no impact to their level of service.
Salt Brine: The Facts and Myths
Have you heard that brine is more corrosive than rock salt? Perhaps you've bought into the idea that using brine requires significant investments in expensive new equipment? Is brine "the answer" for winter maintenance? Learn the facts and myths about brine use from Matt Wittum, Town of Linn Highway Superintendent.
Salt Wise Stories: City of De Pere
Tony Fietzer, Street Superintendent with the City of De Pere, will overview De Pere's salt reduction strategies, successes, and next steps.
Salt Wise Stories: City of Eau Claire
Cory Tietz, Street Division Supervisor with the City of Eau Claire, will overview Eau Claire's salt reduction strategies, successes, and next steps. When the Streets Department was told that a new section of highway was to receive NO salt, Cory's team went into overdrive. This challenge propelled them to rethink winter maintenance city-wide. They are pushing the envelope on gallons/ton used for pre-wetting salt (think 80+), engaging citizens through entertaining and informational social media posts, and saving thousands of dollars on salt.
Starkweather Creek Chloride Reduction Efforts
Starkweather Creek, an urbanized stream in Madison, is listed as impaired by chloride. Since 2020, the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission (CARPC) has been working with local stakeholders to monitor chloride concentrations in the creek, identify chloride sources and management measures, and develop an outreach plan to reduce salt use. Mike Rupiper, CARPC’s Director of Environmental Resource Planning will report on lessons learned and next steps.
Water Softener Brine Reclamation
After taking a Smart Salting class, USDA Forest Products Lab Facilities Operations staff in Madison, WI, put their heads together and designed a system to capture their waste water softener discharge. Rather than pump this waste brine down the drain, they are using it for pre-treatment on their parking lots. They are slashing their winter maintenance costs, reducing overall salt use, and loving the results. Bob Ramos, Katharine Drake, and Keven Kramer will cover all aspects of this innovative project.
Where have all the Mayflies gone?
Bob Miltner, Ohio EPA, and Kevin Goodwin, Michigan Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, discuss recent research from Great Lakes states into the toxic impacts of road salts on native freshwater species. Their findings suggest that state-level understanding of salts may help better protect vulnerable species.