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Milwaukee to reduce winter road salt with cheese brine

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Another Wisconsin community will try mixing cheese brine with road salt in hopes of reducing the salt's environmental impact.

The donated mozzarella brine comes from a cheese plant in Dresser, Wisconsin. Several highway departments in the northwest part of the state are mixing the brine with road salt to put on roads in the winter. The city of Milwaukee will now experiment with the mix in its Bay View neighborhood.

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Milwaukee Sanitation Services Manager Wanda Booker says the hope is that less salt will bounce off the street."When we pre-wet the salt, it's anticipated it will reduce the bounce and scatter of the salt that's actually laid down anywhere from 25 to 30 percent. That will mean that we will actually be able to use less salt on the pavement, and therefore we will have less salinity, less salt water running into the lakes and streams."

Booker says the city currently makes its own brine to mix with salt on bridge decks. The state DNR authorizes the use of cheese brine with road salt on Wisconsin highways. A spokesperson for the Polk County highway department says local crews are using a lot of the mix after this week's snow in that part of the state.

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