Beet Juice Added to Road Salt in Marathon County

By: Elizabeth Schilder Email
By: Elizabeth Schilder Email
More Video...

This winter is making for a busier than normal January at the Marathon County Highway Department. Extreme cold temperatures and regular snow fall are forcing them to get a little creative with what they're spreading on the roads.

Marathon County is only one of many departments in the state brewing up a new salt concoction to help keep the roads safe. The mix is comprised of salt, Magnesium Chloride and... beet juice.

Organic additives like the beet juice and cheese brines make the rock salt the highway department traditionally spreads work better by helping the salt stick to the roads longer and melting ice at lower temperatures.

Milwaukee County mixes their salt with cheese brine. Marathon County Highway Department operations superintendent Dan Raczkowski says really isn't that far out there if you think about it.

“It's really no different as far as making the salt work any faster,” Explains Raczkowki. “You still want your salt brine mixed at a 23 percent solution. So if we were going to get our hands on some salt brine, or some cheese brine...we would still have to make sure that we've got it at the right salt percentage."

He says the county has reached out to some local cheese companies to see about trying their brines on the roads. But there is a small problem.

"The big issue is in the summer time. They produce it all year round so the issue is we really don't have the storage tanks where we would be able to store it in the summer."

And while it may save the county some money, Raczkowski jokes it would pretty ripe come June or July.

And just in case you were wondering, Mozzarella and provolone cheese brines seem to be preferred since they have the best salt content.

Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Questions may be sent to
Please provide detailed information.
All comments must adhere to the discussion rules.

powered by Disqus
WSAW-TV 1114 Grand Ave. Wausau, WI 54403
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 240925851 -
Gray Television, Inc.