Could beet juice replace salt on the roads?

By: Michael Stevens Email
By: Michael Stevens Email

Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 --- 7:00 p.m.

Madison --- You've heard of salt, and probably the mixture of salt brine, when it comes to de-icing our streets. But how about beet juice?

"We can pump the material out, and load it into the saddle tanks that we have on the trucks," said George Dreckmann.

Dreckmann, is with the Madison Streets Department, and is trying to find a good alternative to salt.

"The salt that we apply on the roads, gets washed into our lakes, and streams when things thaw," said Dreckmann. "It causes problems for the aquatic life, it causes problems for the weeds we need for habitat, things like that."

Beet juice first came into the picture three years ago, after a successful run in nearby Rock County.

"We thought we had a product here, that would accomplish our goals of opening up the streets in the winter time, and not increase the problems of salt in the lakes and ground water," said Dreckmann. "The other advantage of beet juice is it works at lower temperatures, than salt and salt brine."

So why haven't we heard about it before? Dreckmann says, it's because more testing needs to be done.

Health officials will survey a test run this winter to see if it's safe for the environment. If it passes, Dreckmann hopes it will be used from now on.


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