- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) - Street department workers have a new weapon to battle winter weather in Columbus, and it’s made by a local company.

The salt brine production system is built by Duo Lift Manufacturing, of Columbus. The Columbus Telegram reported (https://bit.ly/1BX2vGy ) that officials say it provides a brine that melts snow and ice faster than rock salt alone and saves money because it uses up to 40 percent less rock salt that the city’s old application process.

The city bought the system last year to improve snow removal, and city street superintendent Jay Nickolite said it worked so well he’d like to increase its use.

The $30,000 system combines regular rock salt with water to create a brine that’s effective down to 15 degrees. The city has two trucks equipped to spray the brine, which is stored in a 10,000-gallon tank at the city maintenance facility. A separate storage tank contains beet juice that’s mixed with the brine to make it effective during subzero weather.

Jim Hellbusch, who runs Duo Lift with his wife and two sons, said roads can be treated before a storm, and then another coat can be applied after the snow stops. The process melts the snow from the top and bottom, turning it to slush that can be more easily plowed away before it becomes a hardened snowpack, he said.

The system also is used in Omaha, Lincoln and several cities throughout the Midwest, Hellbusch said, as well as by transportation departments in Nebraska and several states.

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Information from: Columbus Telegram, https://www.columbustelegram.com

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