Rethinking Winter Roads Policy in Carol Stream

Over the past several years the Carol Stream Public Works Department has made efforts to effectively and efficiently manage salt usage during ice and snow seasons. During the 2013-2014 winter season, we began to experiment with new techniques and practices, as we anxiously watched our stock pile of salt diminish. We heard stories and media reports of a salt shortage developing; some agencies had run out of salt, while others were paying a premium for relatively small amounts of deicing agents. One of the practices we employed was increased anti-icing efforts.

We increased in-house brine production and began applying it village wide when there was sufficient notice of a storm event. Increasing our pre-wetting practices reduced bounce and scatter of rock salt, and increased its productivity and efficiency at lower temperatures. Lastly, during most storms, we stopped salting cul-de-sacs and courts and limited our secondary streets to one application of salt on our last pass. These techniques allowed us toreduce our use of rock salt (chloride is the active ingredient) on average between 30-50%.

Besides the operational benefits of implementing best practices, we did not experience a significant increase in complaints or traffic accidents related to our application reduction. Recently, Village staff made a recommendation to our Board that these salt conservation measures be incorporated into the Snow and Ice Plan as policy. The Village Board agreed with staff’s recommendation and voted to approve this policy change on September 2, 2014.

Todd Hoppenstedt, Superintendent of Operations—Village of Carol Stream

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