Roane county beats winter weather with brine

Brine is a mixture of salt and water that is applied to dry roads before the threat of winter weather.

HARRIMAN, Tenn. (WVLT)-- It's been a record-setting winter with cold temperatures and snow across the nation causing many cities to run low on salt to treat roads. However, Local 8 News Reporter Whitney Kent shows us how one county's crystallized recipe has help them conserve.

There's nearly 1,000 miles of road in Roane County and they still have a surplus of salt thanks to brine. It's a salt and water mixture that creates a solution which helps keep the roads clear when snow falls.

It's nothing new for many highway departments, however Roane County is not only mixing and using it; they're selling it.

Dennis Ferguson, Roane County Road Superintendent, says, "The system that mixes the brine cost about $27,000 which is a high price tag that smaller department cannot afford."

So Ferguson partnered up with cities in the area and offered to sell it to them at 25 cents a gallon.

Compared to the high price of salt; brine is much cheaper.

"It cost about $730 for 10 tons of salt," Ferguson says.

The brine saves tax dollars, keeps more roads safe during winter weather and extends the salt supplies for highway departments.

"Our main goal is to be a good neighbor and help others. We're a bigger department so we try to help smaller departments dealing with the wrath of Mother Nature," Ferguson says.

At this point in the season, Ferguson says the county would have been out of salt if they didn't start using brine to treat the roads.

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