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Warren Co. towns run out of brine to treat roads

Equipment to produce liquid brine for treatment of roads is displayed during a 2015 training session in Bolton. Warren County and a number of towns can’t get brine because a company that makes it stopped selling locally. (Provided photo — Post-Star)

Warren County and towns around Lake George have increasingly turned to brine to pre-treat roads before winter storms, but the brine program hit a roadblock in recent weeks when the only company that was producing it for the region opted to stop making it.

The saltwater mix is applied to roads ahead of storms because it adheres to pavement better than rock salt, so it is viewed as more environmentally friendly.

The Warren county Department of Public Works and towns of Bolton and Hague have been getting it from a supplier through a state contract, but that supplier stopped producing it in recent weeks when the company was sold, county Public Works Superintendent Kevin Hajos said.

That has left officials without a source in the middle of winter, which will require the use of more conventional rock salt to treat roads instead.

Hajos said there are no brine sources readily available for the rest of the winter, but he said the county could purchase equipment to make its own brine for next winter, with possible state grant funding for it.

The equipment costs about $40,000 to $50,000, and the county could share with the towns in the county that have the equipment to apply brine.

“We could make our own brine in-house,” Hajos said.

The state Department of Transportation produces its own brine for state highways, as does the town of Lake George for its roads. But the town’s equipment cannot produce enough for the county, Bolton and Hague, Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson said.

The county can make it for about 6 cents per gallon. The cost to buy it is about 25 cents per gallon.

Bolton Supervisor Ronald Conover, chairman of the Board of Supervisors’ Public Works Committee, said initially the cost estimates were that it was cheaper to buy it on state contract than to purchase equipment.

Hajos said he planned to reach out to the Lake George Park Commission to see if the county and park commission could work together for possible grant funding.

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