Local municipalities train for smarter snow removal

NOW: Local municipalities train for smarter snow removal

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BROWN DEER, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Cold temperatures have moved in and SE Wisconsin could see snow any day now. 

Brown Deer's salt shed is full, it's another sign of just how close winter is.

Public works departments all around Milwaukee are thinking about plowing and snow removal.

On Wednesday, Nov. 3, many municipalities gathered in Brown Deer to learn about ways every city can cut costs and help the environment this winter. 

"I know everybody is in a budget crunch, right. Everybody is trying to pull as much money as they can out of their accounts for snow," said Scott Rewolinski, the city of Cudahy's Department of Public Works superintendent. 

The training was hosted by the city of Cudahy and Salt Wise, a Wisconsin coalition of organizations that works to prevent pollution in fresh waterways.

The municipalities learned tips for better snow removal practices, like calibrating their salt trucks and proper brine usage.

Those are two things that Rewolinski says have helped cut costs in Cudahy.

"I used to buy 1,600 to 1,800 tons of salt a year from the state contractor, now I'm buying 600," said Rewolinski. 

"Anybody have citizens out there that are going to call in and complain if their roads aren't what they want them to be?" asked Allison Madison, Salt Wise's sustainability and development coordinator, talking to a group of about 100 city workers from a dozen towns.

She says these practices will help them more effectively salt streets, so there isn't as much salt run-off into waterways. 

"Road salt is one of the primary contributors to the salt that's showing up in our freshwater and in our drinking water," said Madison. 

Calibration of salt trucks is the one thing all municipalities can do right away once taught, which will make sure they're using enough salt where needed, but not more. 

"Precision application of salt is really important," said Madison. 

Other areas in the state have held similar trainings.

Cities like Cudahy and River Hills in the Milwaukee area have already seen some success with these practices. 

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