Wisconsin Dairy News: A cheesy solution to icy roads - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Wisconsin Dairy News: A cheesy solution to icy roads

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Polk County, WISCONSIN (WXOW) - One of the by-products of cheesemaking is a cheese brine solution that helps flavor cheese, but disposing of it can present a challenge. Polk County Highway Department has a great solution.

"Knowing that the factories use brine water, we started looking into if we could utilize this brine water as an anti-icing agent to use with our salt brine," says Moe Norby, technical support manager for the Polk County Highway Department.   "We saved initially forty thousand dollars in chemical costs going with the cheese brine being that it was a cheaper chemical than running magnesium chloride on the roads."

In December of 2009 Polk County started testing the substance on icy roads to see how the solution would perform.  With little environmental impact, the real benefit is cheese brine's effect as it hits the icy roads.  "It's a pre-wetter, it keeps the salt from, the dry salt from bouncing off the roads, and we get a better burn, a quicker reaction time with the snow and ice so we can turn down our salters 30% to use less material."

Recycling the brine solution also benefits F&A Dairy who supplies brine to Polk County and other surrounding areas.  Recycling cheese brine solution is a win-win for both cheese plants and the counties that save costs on shipping the brine out of state.

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