City authorities plan to clear icy roads - with cheese!


When you're stuck in a snow-induced traffic jam this winter, you should probably thank your lucky stars.

Why? Well, not because of the jam itself, of course – that's just plain frustrating.

But be glad you're not sitting on a gridlocked street in Milwaukee. Because if you were, you wouldn't just have the delay or the boredom to worry about.

On top of everything else, you'd have to deal with a cheesy stench, too.

That's because authorities in the city have found a new way to extend and ameliorate their rock salt supply: cheese brine.

The liquid substance which forms as a by-product of the cheese-making process is, it turns out, ideally suited to being combined with rock salt and spread on the tarmac.

Milwaukee is in Wisconsin, a state renowned for its cheese production, and the cheese brine is normally disposed of at a cost to the producers.

However, Polk County, elsewhere in the state, has been using the brine as a pre-wetting agent – a salty substance added to the rock salt or sand to help it dissolve more easily – since 2009.

The county says it saved around $40,000 (almost £25,000) in its first year of doing so.

This year, the City of Milwaukee's Department of Public Works says it hopes to adopt the technique.

However, first it will need to find a supplier of mozzarella or provolone cheese in the area that's willing to supply the brine

Then it'll need to find a way to transport the brine to its holding tanks.

But none of this will solve the chief downside: laying down the brine usually results in what's been described as a 'distinctive odour'.

So promising are the cost savings, though, that even if Milwaukee's residents Camembert the smell, the signs are that, well, they've just Gouda live with it.