Looking Ahead to Winter, Clark Council Discusses Automated Brine Maker to Improve Slippery Road Conditions

A snow-covered roadway. Credits: Jackie Lieberman

CLARK, NJ - The Clark Township Council discussed the acquisition and shared use of an Automated Brine Maker during its workshop meeting Monday night. The machine would be purchased and brine shared by the city of Rahway, the boroughs of Roselle and Kenilworth and the township of Clark.

The Automated Brine Maker produces a mixture of salt and water. The mixture is sprayed from a tank onto roadways and parking lots up to two to three days in advance of a snow or ice storm. The brine forms a visible, white protective coating on road surfaces so that falling snow melts on contact. Mayor Sal Bonaccorso said some towns have reported use of the brine has prevented plowing of up to two to three inches of snow.

The mixture, which is 23.6 percent salt, reduces the amount of solid rock salt required, thus producing a cost savings to the township.  Early application would also reduce overtime pay costs as the brine can be applied before a storm during regular work hours.  A 1,000-gallon tank with sprayer would be affixed to a currently owned township truck. 

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The City of Rahway would produce the brine and make it readily available from storage tanks. Township workers would travel to Rahway to fill the tank as needed in advance of a storm. 

"We can prepare prior to the storms to keep the major roadways, hills, schools and public safety buildings open.  The upside to this is great," said Bonaccorso, "It supports the shared services initiative, is environmentally friendly and is an investment in savings both in overtime and rock salt costs."

Clark's portion of the machine's purchase price is $30,000.  The tank and 3-lane sprayer unit is estimated to cost between $13,000 and $15,000.

A resolution authorizing the execution of a joint purchasing agreement will appear on the August 18, 2014 town council meeting agenda.

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