DES MOINES, Iowa — Over the past couple of days Des Moines Street crews were spraying some dark-colored, strange-smelling liquid onto the streets of the city.
The substance is a beet juice by-product mixed with a bring solution. The idea is the mixture will lower the freezing point of water.
“With this round of snowstorms with freezing air and freezing ground temperatures, I put out an anti-icing agent with salt brine mixed with a beet juice by-product so that we can kind of break up the snow as soon as it starts landing,” said Des Moines Public Works Director Jonathan Gano. “When the snowplows come across the top of it, also we have the anti-icing agent working underneath the snow so we’re tackling it from both sides.”
The city has to patrol over twenty-two hundred miles of streets when the snowfalls. This year so far not used as much of the winter budget as usual.
“So this is been a winter that’s brought quite a bit of snow and early on we’re about 85% of the way through a normal winter’s worth of snow yet we’re not even halfway through the winter snow budget is looking really good,” said Gano. “We’ve only spent about 25% of the normal amount of the snow budget so far this winter.”
The Des Moines Public Works still has a huge pile of salt on hand.
“We’re preparing now for what could be a series of snowstorms that could really pack a punch over the next week,” said Gano. “We are taking the actions we can now to ensure that snow removal goes as smoothly as possible to keep our over 2,200 miles of Des Moines roads moving.”