MDOT reduces salt consumption by 35% in hopes of saving money and clean water resources | Location

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The study says road salt is by far the biggest contributor to salt pollution in the Great Lakes.

“Basically, instead of granular salt, we’re putting down a liquid brine. It’s about 23.3% salt,” said Mark Geib, administrator of transportation systems management operations for MDOT.

The Michigan Department of Transportation says they have been working to reduce their salt usage for the last few years. In the Bay Region, they have cut down their salt usage by 35%.

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The road agency says also is testing Agriculture Byproducts derived from corn and beet juice. Geib said that these products could be the future of road maintenance for the state.

“The one we’ve been using predominately, it’s a corn-based agricultural byproduct that works really well,” said Geib. “So, we will continue moving in this direction, because the potential to save up to 40% of the amount of salt we use is huge from a cost basis and environmental basis.”

MDOT has already cut back on their salt usage and hopes to continue to do so. “We’ve been employing more innovations and lot more training to help only use the amount of salt we need to use,” said Geib. “So, as we’ve been doing these things were using less salt so that’s a win-win all the way around the block.”

At this point, there are three pilot programs across the state using liquid-based products and Geib expects to see it expand for a number of reasons if all goes well. “I will say the potential here is very high. MDOT spends about $30 million a year on salt and the price, like a lot of other commodities, is tending to go up over time. So, it will just get more expensive,” said Geib. “So, we want to save as much money as we can while keeping the public as safe as possible while being as friendly to the environment as we can be. So, we will keep pushing the envelope on innovations and on this liquid mostly pilot we’re doing.”