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DPW looking to use cheese brine to break up ice on roadways

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Cheese on the road?! This winter, the city of Milwaukee is looking to spread a little cheese brine on its roads to help clear ice from the roadways.

Brine is basically salt and water.

At Cedar Valley Cheese in Belgium, 30,000 gallons of brine is circulated in long channels, where the cheese floats along, soaking up salt.

"It's gonna take the salt and it pulls it in and it releases some of the fat," Dale Singer said.

When combined with traditional rock salt, the Milwaukee Department of Public Works says using cheese brine could be better for the environment and cost the city less.

Right now, the city uses primarily rock salt, which is inexpensive and effective -- but using brine isn't unheard of.

Polk County has been using cheese brine on its roads since 2009, and claims it saved them $40,000 in the first year.

"Right now it doesn't cost a lot for us to dispose of it at the Wastewater Treatment Plant," Singer said.

Cedar Valley says any offer from Milwaukee for its brine would have to be more cost-effective than its current disposal.

"It would have to be beneficial as far as they would almost have to pay for it to get delivered down there," Singer said.

The plant already recycles most of its brine using machines that strip away fats, making dirty brine clean and reusable.

However, the plant engineer says using brine on city roads would work.

"Melt the ice and snow just like the other salt would," Singer said.

Milwaukee DPW plans to hold a news conference on this issue on Thursday, September 12th at 11:00 a.m.

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