Winter can be very time-consuming and costly for a public works department. For example, a one-inch snowfall, depending on the time of day, can take four city public works employees three to five hours to clean up. A snow event of this caliber requires around 30 tons of salt, 500 gallons of liquid brine and 70 gallons of diesel fuel to properly treat the roads.
Costs associated with labor, materials, expensive machinery, and vehicle maintenance can quickly add up. For this reason, we at the Auburn Hills DPW are always looking for ways to save money and reduce the time spent clearing and salting roads.
A recent investment by our department was to purchase a 10-yard swap loader dump truck and it has allowed us to efficiently improve our processes. The truck’s 2350 liquid gallon capacity is more than three times our previous capacity! The truck will be used to apply pre-treatment liquid, which helps prevent snow and ice from bonding to the roads before the storm hits. The liquid is four times more effective than using salt post-event to break the snow/ice bond to the roads. This tank is also used to apply full liquid de-icing, which gives us quicker melting times of snow and ice.
With this larger tank capacity, it allows us to save time and money by reducing the number of trips required to refill the pre-treatment tank. Although snow and ice events can be very costly for city governments, we work diligently to deliver high-level service, while also seeking cost-saving opportunities.
Aaron See, Manager of Fleet and Roads