Nova Scotia

Beet juice and cheese brine: Halifax's solution to icy roads?

In an effort to fix Halifax’s icy streets and sidewalks, one municipal councillor is suggesting an unorthodox solution: beet juice, cheese brine and molasses.

Coun. Linda Mosher suggests new mix for road and sidewalk brine

A Halifax municipal councillor proposes the city investigate whether beet juice and molasses could be mixed into the brine used to treat sidewalks and roads. (Catharine Tunney/CBC)

In an effort to fix Halifax’s ice ravaged streets and sidewalks, one municipal councillor is suggesting a way out of the pickle: beet juice, cheese brine and molasses.

Halifax West Armdale Coun. Linda Mosher wants city staff to investigate whether mixing traditional salt with an array of other products will improve the brine used to lessen ice buildup during a winter storm.
Coun. Linda Mosher is seeking improvements to Halifax's snow and sidewalk clearing efforts. (halifax.ca)

“Although our processes have improved and we apply brine as a precaution, this preventative measure does not work in very cold temperatures," Mosher writes in a notice of motion, to be discussed at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“Other cities augment traditional rock salt application with byproducts such as calcium chloride, calcium magnesium acetate, and organic compounds such as beet juice, cheese brine, pickle brine and sugar cane molasses.

“These products also serve as a gooey substance to which salt sticks and minimizes the likelihood of runoff to watercourses.”

Such combinations have been tried before in other places. Merritt, B.C., has found spreading beet juice on roads before a storm cuts down on the amount of salt used. Wisconsin, famous for its dairy industry, uses cheese brine as part of its de-icing process.

This winter has been a headache for drivers and pedestrians in the Halifax region, which has been hit by successive rain and snow storms.

Mosher is also wants municipal staff to look at modifying the parking ban that is imposed following snow.

The current ban typically runs from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m., however Mosher says vehicles continue to impede snow plows.

She says the city should consider making the ban longer, or alternating the side of the street on which vehicles can park.

“We have had rapidly changing weather events recently and it is taking several days to clear streets, bus stops, intersections and sidewalks,” she says in the notice of motion.

“The extremely cold temperatures and icing conditions are making it very treacherous to walk and drive.”

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