If at first it sounded like a joke, the reality of tapping the wellspring of dairy byproduct has become a serious budget-slimming conversation. The state produced 2.7 billion pounds of cheese in 2012, the most of any in the nation. With it comes a surplus of brine that is shipped to local waste treatment plants. (Cheese brine is permitted on roads if limited to eight gallons per ton of rock salt used.)
Using cheese brine to de-ice Wisconsin's wintry roads
— By Janet Fang on January 11, 2014, 12:32 AM PST
Where I live in northwest Iowa, a kosher packing plant went belly-up. While the company was working with creditors, we had one of the worst winters ever. The price of road salt went sky-high and the county whre the plant had been located was quickly running out of salt. The packing plant offered the county the use of the salt they had used to prepare the chickens. It had been used and so needed to be removed from site. Both sides benefited -- the county got free salt and the plant owners didn't need to pay someone to disposed of the salt. The only problem was that once in a while, the salt truck operators had to clear a chicken head from the output chute.
Sounds great, any excuse not to dump it down the dairies sewer for the water company to deal with should be advocated, as worth pursuing. If it smells a wee bit, add something nice and lemony to make it.
As a Milwaukeean, I applaud the efforts to simultaneously lower road salt expenses while removing millions of gallons of wastewater treatment. My problem is that the brine seems to turn regular snow into a super-slippery slush that, IMO, makes driving (in it) more dangerous.