Milwaukee readies its winter equipment - and cheese brine

CREATED Dec. 5, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - The mayor calls it "thinking outside the cheese box."

With budgets tight and weather unpredictable, city officials hope a pilot program will give the city an economically-sound way to tame winter storms when they hit the area.
"Costs go up for fuel, so do tires for the trucks that salt. All of these costs are going up and we can't control that," explains fleet manager Jeffrey Tews.
On Thursday, Tews and Milwaukee's mayor Tom Barrett unveiled the first cheese-brine salt trucks that will debut this winter in Bay View.
The mozzarella brine - liquid waste from the cheese-making process - is high in salt. 
It also comes free from cheese manufacturers (this year's brine comes from F&A Dairy in Dresser, WI).
"It may sound absurd, or It may work fantastically," Tews quipped to TODAY'S TMJ4. "You don't know unless you try."
While Bay View residents will get a "taste"of the new snow-treatment process, the rest of Milwaukee will depend on Public Works' large fleet of plows and salters. That includes:
  • 182 Garbage trucks converted into snow plows.
  • 108 Salter trucks
  • 39 Sidewalk tractors equipped with plows or snow blowers
Public Works employs more than 230 people to staff the winter teams, with an additional 300 drivers available for major snow plowing operations.