In an effort to change the manner in which the city handles roads following snowfall, the city’s governing body last week approved the purchase of a $115,176 plow truck that comes equipped with brine tanks.
The truck, 2014 International Model 7400 4X2 with a 10 feet dump body, is being purchased from Langhorne, Pennsylvania based Bucks County International, Inc. The vehicle comes equipped with snowplow truck hitch, and Bosch pre-wet system, used for spreading.
“We’re buying the truck for the winter,” said Manuel Ojeda, director of public works. Ojeda said the salt truck is being purchased to bolster the department before winter approaches. The truck will be utilized for spreading and plowing snow even before the city switches to the brine system, said Ojeda.
“Brine is a whole different project,” said Ojeda. The director said the city is in the beginning stages, but that is the direction the city is heading towards. Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres proposed the brine system as an alternative to the current salt system when making his case to borrow $35 million to reconstruct 170 primary roads.
Torres had said the brine system accomplishes the same purpose as salt, but without the sustained damage to the roads. “It’s less harsh on the road than calcium,” added Ojeda.
One week prior to approving the purchase council members wondered the impact the new system will have on city roads. Julio Tavarez, 5th Ward councilman, wondered if the brine will leave the streets a certain color.
“It has a certain color?” asked Tavarez. “If they [residents] see the streets after a snowstorm and it looks orange and dirty, we can say, ‘look, the streets are not dirty, that’s the actual solution we’re using.’”
Tavarez said he has seen pictures of cities that have been using brine to clear roads, and often the streets look muddy.
Ojeda said the brine is a clear liquid. “The brine is a mixture of water and salt,” added the director. “It’s a clear color. It’s not blue or red or anything like that.”
“Where are we getting the brine from?” asked William McKoy, 3rd Ward councilman. “We’re getting a truck, but no brine.”
Ojeda said the department is looking at contractors, who do the brine.
When asked whether the department intends to fully implement the brine system during the coming winter, Ojeda said that’s more than likely.
“We want to expedite it, but I don’t want to rush it without doing all our homework.”