TWINSBURG -- To keep the roads clear of ice and motorists safe during the winter months, Twinsburg, Twinsburg Township and Reminderville have used more than 2,500 tons of salt on roads and streets in the area.
Twinsburg has spent $268,800 on 5,600 tons of salt, and has dropped roughly 1,500 tons on the local roads and streets so far this winter, according to public works director Chris Campbell.
Campbell said the city was supplied by Cargill Salt through an arrangement that requires the city to pay for only 80 percent of the salt supplied. Of the 7,000 tons of salt supplied to the city for this winter, the city will pay for 5,600 tons at a cost of about $48 per ton, for total expenditure of $268,800.
If the city does not use all of the 5,600 tons purchased, the remainder will be stored until next winter.
"I think we'll be okay because it's early in the year and obviously we're going to get more snow," Campbell said.
"We've only [used] 1,500 tons at this point, so we're low compared to other years," Campbell added. "We've had events in November [of previous years] where we go through a lot of salt and I've had as much as 2,000 or 3,000 tons purchased by now. It's good for the city in that you're not using as much salt."
Reminderville service director John Arnold said the village has used around 450 tons of salt this winter, out of more than 850 tons purchased for the season.
Twinsburg Township service coordinator Todd Johnson said his municipality has experienced relatively heavy salt usage this winter.
"Right off hand, I think this winter's a little bit heavier than it's been last [year]," Johnson said. "We've put 1,500 miles on the trucks and purchased almost $1,900 in fuel."
The township has used around 535 tons of road salt so far this season, Johnson added.
"To date, we've had nine snow and ice control days where we've actually had to be out on the road," Johnson said. "We've used 535.23 tons of salt; 2,700 tons were purchased for the season."
Johnson said he expects to use between 800 and 1,000 tons of additional salt to maintain township roads for the rest of the winter. Campbell had no such estimate for the city, saying variable weather patterns prevent a fair guess.
In addition to salt, Johnson said township service personnel use a beet juice-based product called Beet Heet, which is mixed with the salt, to melt ice more quickly and keep it from forming on the road.
"It's just a little added touch that gives us an advantage," Johnson said.
Campbell said the city tried using beet products to supplement road salt during testing in 2010-11 and found the addition was not financially viable.
"We used the beet juice a couple years ago and we did not have a lot of success with it," Campbell said. "The problem with that product is it takes your ability to melt ice lower, temperature-wise. That's an added cost and in order to break even financially, we would have to throw a minimum of 30 percent less salt; that's just to break even. In our testing, we were never able to get even close to that number. Financially, it really didn't work for us."
With new technologies developing and the possibility of more severe winters looming, Twinsburg is exploring a brine, or salt water, solution for use in combination with standard salt trucks. Campbell said the city is also considering pre-storm road treatment to prevent ice buildup.
"Now what we're doing this year is going to a brine application," Campbell said. "We're feeding brine at the spinner and it's wetting down the salt as it comes off the spinner. That's supposed to keep it from bouncing and activate it quicker. The other thing we're doing is what they call anti-icing, where we go out prior to a storm and we pre-treat some of these roads. That buys you a little bit of time as the event starts. We're just going through testing on that this year, trying to establish what a good application rate is and so forth."