Cash-Strapped Bergen, N.J. To Fight Snow With ‘Pickle Juice’

Salt-Water Concoction Costs Just 7 Cents A Gallon

BERGENFIELD, N.J. (CBS 2) — Bergen County’s 230 plows and salting vehicles are at the ready for Wednesday’s snowfall, especially with their newest weapon for melting snow quickly — a briny mixture of salt and water that resembles pickle juice.

“We actually pre-spray the properties, the sidewalks, the parking lots as a preventative before the snow is uncontrollable,” Bergen County Public Works Director Joe Crifasi told CBS 2’s Magee Hickey.

The brine costs just 7 cents a gallon compared to $63 a ton for salt. Bergen County has already used up $3 million of its $4 million snow budget.

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“We’re still not in the red. We’re in the black, but if we get a winter that continues like this, it’ll be very tough,” Bergen County Executive Director Kathe Donovan said.

In contrast, New Jersey has already blown through its $20 million storm clean-up budget after the post-Christmas storm dumped more than 30 inches in parts of the state.

New York City set aside $38 million this year for snow removal, but the Bloomberg administration said it has already spent more than that digging out after the Dec. 26 blizzard.

And even though it wasn’t a big storm Tuesday morning, many in New York City said they were surprised by how much snow we got – and how much is probably in our future.

“No I’d rather be here than in California with earthquakes, but I wish it would stop,” said Lisa Frazier of Harlem.

“As long as Mother Nature says, we’ll be out here. And we’re only halfway through winter,” maintenance worker Rafael Garcia added.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Vilkit says:

    Okay, where can i buy pickle juice (in gallons) for myself?

  2. Milton says:

    Joe in Cincinatti mentioned they use beet juice because they can’t afford pickle juice. I’ve heard people here in Nashville who know folks in DOT say that beet juice is mixed with salt brine to make it stick to the pavement better and not get blown away as dust when the brine drys. FWIW

  3. Grady Fring says:

    Less gov’t is always good! More biz for surgeons and tow trucks! Let’em crash! The market will take care of it!

  4. greg says:

    Maybe they could use Boehner’s or Beck’s tears! They’re super salty, abundant, replenishable, and available on cue!

  5. Tom Lowe says:

    I predict that preapplication will lead to lots of cracked sidewalks and streets a few years down the road.

  6. oneplusone says:

    I think one of you NJ folks will soon figure out that salt on roads eventually pollutes streams, will definitely cause roads to deteriorate and when pushed to the sides of the road with the snow creates SALT LICKS for deer along the road shoulders. Ever wonder why deer are so close to roads. After deer become habituated to passing cars they get hit trying to cross the road. Salt is a very, very, expensive way to keep our roads safe. Plow and sand.

    1. mikey says:

      You must be from Alabama. Get a clue, buddy. Without salt, it’s worse than a war zone.

  7. Jose says:

    Use Obama’s hot air, that is the only way he can help us

    1. Joe B. says:

      Hey Jose, what’s it like to be a horse’s ass that early in the morning. Doesn’t it hurt your brain? Or does that function still?

      1. Tom says:

        ? Woah Joe that was one crazy clever comment brah! You sure got him!

        …Ass….

    2. Mark V says:

      Even Obama’s hot air would run out at this pace.

    3. Beth says:

      Funny if inappropriate – lol

    4. Juan says:

      I agree

  8. Joe in Cincinnati says:

    In Cincinnati we’re so cash strapped we can’t even afford pickle juice.

    We’re using BEET JUICE–you can’t make this stuff up!!!!

    (no truth to the rumor that if you say ‘beetjuice, beetjuice,beetjuice that Michael Keaton appears)

  9. CaptainObnious says:

    Why is Bergen cash-strapped? Are not the PRNJ taxes among the highest in the nation?

  10. Fred Hoot says:

    Just drive a tank truck down to the Jersey shore, load up with seawater and spray that.

  11. Me says:

    some of you have some really terrible math skills

    1. Huge Juan says:

      Kind of like your punctuation skills?

    2. Beth Weisleder says:

      Get over it. BTW, get a sense of humor.

  12. Milly says:

    this is the best article I have read in a really long time. All you readers are stuck in a snow storm, with nothing to do……so you are spending HOURS trying to figure out the cost of a ton of pickle juice relative to the cost of a ton of salt. Priceless. It could be a MasterCard commercial. I just love it. Thinking outside the box….. places like Lake Tahoe in California get like 180″ of snow a year…..ever thought of asking them how they clear their streets? Just askin.

  13. Fred Fredsky says:

    Let’s see … compare 7 cents a gallon to $63 a ton … hm … hm hm hm … what an odd comparison, it must be one of those weird East Coast things, like snow. Shall I try to figure it out or shall I look for Carlos’s number? Yeah, I need Carlos, my palm trees have got to be trimmed soon, I realized that as I worked from home today. What a day it was again, sitting with the computer on my terrace, and when my eyes got tired, gazing out onto San Diego Bay as it bustled with boats small and big in the perfect California sun … Now let’s see, seven gallons of snow is equal to 63 cents of brine, or no, wait … O here it is, Carlos, 619…

    1. Donovan says:

      It would work out to about $23.00 a ton for the liquid brine.

      1. Keith Wright says:

        liquid brine…is that like gaseous air or solid rock?

    2. Estragon says:

      Fred, I’m just guessing here: public schools?

    3. Carl Armbruster says:

      Fred , , , ,$.07 a gallon – not $7 a gallon – BIG difference . . . $15.56 a ton @ 9#/gallon

  14. blahblahblah says:

    Obama’s love for the downtrodden heats up the planet’s atmosphere by 5.8 degrees Fahrenheit, while his loathing of George W. Bush cools it down by the same amount. That’s why the scientists have been unable to detect any significant variations in average global temperatures.

  15. jim s says:

    I just hope this Global Warming ends before we all freeze to death.

  16. Joe says:

    Let’s see…

    $7/Gal vs $63/ton. Well let’s assume that the ‘juice’ is slightly heavier than water – we’ll pretend it’s roughly 9 pounds/gallon.

    2000 lbs / 9 lbs/gal = 222 Gallons. So for a ton of the juice it costs $1556. Makes the salt seem as a pretty good deal. The juice would have to spread 25x the area with the same melting effect to be more cost effective than salt. And no, I’m not a salt peddler, just a humble systems engineer.

    The second comparison is $3 mil for Bergen County, which is 234 Sq. Miles in land area (I don’t care enough about this to find out how many miles of roads there are so area will have to do) is $12,820/sq. mile vs. $20 mil for the state of New Jersey, which is 7422 sq. miles of land, or $2695/sq. mile, So New Jersey’s expenses are less than 22% per square mile of Bergen County’s expenses.

    Sounds like Governer Christie is doing his job and someone on the Bergen County board has a brother-in-law in the brine business.

    1. moooy says:

      That was 7 cents/gallon which would be $15.56 per ton

    2. can says:

      It’s 7 CENTS a gal, NOT & DOLLARS you MORON. works out to about $22 a gal, a much better deal. Go get your GED will you.

      1. Me says:

        unless you knew how much the brine weighed, there is no way to figure out the cost.

    3. Mark Douglas says:

      Don’t engineer any systems that people will use. You are likely to be off by a factor of 10. Or in your world, 100.

    4. Matt says:

      Everyone’s assuming that a pound of pickle juice has the same melting efficiency as a pound of rock salt. If the application methods put down different quantities depending on the medium, this straight calculation is leaving something out.

      1. David says:

        The pickle juice is no bargain.
        I don’t know what concentration the salt in the pickle jiuce is, but you are right; there is no way 1 pound of salt = 1 pound of pickle jouice. The city can and does make brine themselves, about 25% concentration, meaning 8 pounds of water (=1 gallon) + 2 pound of salt. Then you have something just about equal to the pickle juice. Since you paying roughtly $15-$23 a ton for pickle juice and $63 a ton for salt, they actually come out about = since you get about 4 to 5 tons of brine per ton of salt at about 25% concentration (adding 1 ton salt to 4 tons water gives you 5 tons of brine) for $63 + cost of 4 tons water. 5 tons pickle juice is around $75-$100 depending on how heavy the juice is.

  17. Joseppi Tanner says:

    I’m waiting for someone to be allergic to pickle juice , fall down and sue the city.

    1. Beth Weisleder says:

      LOL – certain it WILL happen. Line up personal injury attornies………..

  18. MasterBlaster says:

    You all come to AZ. Got good jobs available down here Tucson way, no snow, and not too many people. Going to be 70 tomorrow and the rest of the week.

    Think I’ll go for a swim when I get home from work tomorrw and a round of golf this weekend.

    Ummmmm …

    1. Fred says:

      Why you dirty… best regards from MI.

    2. It's Yucky in Arizona -- stay away says:

      Blaster, don’t encourage them!

    3. Bryan Cassell says:

      Yeah seriously, Tucson sucks. Who cares that it’s like 70 outside right now. Shorts, t-shirts, and flip flops are overrated! We golf and swim all winter in an attempt to hide our misery!

  19. Mark Cornwell says:

    Salt brine made from sodium chloride contains 2.28# of salt per gallon of water when you make a brine with the appropriate concentration of 23.3%. At 23% concentration, sodium chloride brine has a eutectic freeze point of -6 degrees F. If a typical solid salt application is say 400 # per lane mile (12′ x 5280′) then solid salt would cover 5 lane miles per ton. If one can plow effectively and apply say 50 gallons per lane mile to eliminate any remaining snow then you have only applied around 115 pounds of salt per lane mile.

    The real costs of road salt are not in the actual salt itself but in the damage it does in the form of premature depreciation of infrastructure investment. If your state uses 2 million tons per year at $63.00 per ton you spend $126,000,000 per year on salt. Then if you consider a conservative hidden cost of $200 then you add another $400,000,000 to your cost to apply that salt.

    Does the including use of salt brine in your winter maintenance program make sense now?

    1. Happy Pagan says:

      My head hurts

  20. Jersey's #1 says:

    Lol just out of curiosity, I know there is salt in this Brine Mixture, but am I the only one sees something wrong with tempatures below 32 degrees and putting water down on the roads lol

    1. Geoff says:

      Yes, you are off base here. First, having salt in the water will significantly reduce its freezing point. So it won;t freeze up at 32 degrees like it normally would. Second, the mixture does not stick to the ground when it freezes. That means it comes up cleaner and more completely when the plows or shovels come through.

  21. Chicago Nick says:

    Why not just have everyone urinate on the sidewalks, they do it in the urban areas already…..

  22. Tom says:

    Bad judgment..brine has been used for years…write a good story..then you will win an award like they promised you in college.

    1. nik says:

      tom is an a$$

      1. murray says:

        nik, is your name that short so you can remember it?

  23. Joe Godfrey says:

    Why not just use urine … I mean it’s already Jersey.

  24. Rick Booker says:

    Isn’t all of hits Algore’s fault? According to his line of BS it should be 70 F in the northeast in the winter time by now.

    1. agilis says:

      Only the ignorant believe that snow is an argument against global warming. Unusually heavy snow is caused by higher than normal temperatures. When it’s very cold, it can’t snow. Rising global temperatures are to a large extent responsible for heavier than normal snowfalls.

      1. JimmyD says:

        learn to think for yourself agilis. what are you? a scientist?

      2. Shelly says:

        Agilis, do you mean just like the ignorant “believers” who point to record-setting heat as a sign that global warming is real?

        Oh…and we got 5 inches the other night when the temp was -5 (that’s 5 degrees below zero). Kinda shoots all yer lernin’ straight to hell now, don’t it?

        I’ve got a picture of my 6′ tall Uncle standing on the roof of his car….scooping it out of the snow that is even with his head…while he’s standing on his car…he’s six feet tall…this picture was taken in 1969. Was that a result of global warming too? If global warming is real, how come there are so many weather records from the 1930’s? LOL I despise Algore and his followers. Drones…one and all. Not a critical thinker among them. Good luck in life. I advise you stop believing everything you read.

      3. agilis says:

        Hey Shelly… you stooopid

      4. Shelly says:

        Agilis, why are you calling me “stupid?” Because I destroyed your argument and that’s all you have left to come back with? I’d be frustrated too, if I were you. Grow up child.

      5. SJ says:

        Seriously who told you it cant snow when its extremely cold? is that something you learned from Al Gore as well?. I when the Antarctic that experience sub zero temps driving driving blizzards its all just a figment of our imagination. A blizzard is a storm with winds of at least 35 mph and temperatures below 20°F, with enough falling or moving snow to reduce visibility to less than 1/4 mile. Go back to school you liberal lemming.

      6. bob says:

        Global warming….really? No, REALLY? With 3300 temperature bouy’s in the ocean showing no increase in temp, global warming, again? Controling CO2….
        because the environmental lawyers can create a tax for it…when water vapor is 700 times more conductive of heat (try to convince people that water causes global warming is a lot tougher sell by the environmental lawyers). Global warming? Really? I know you feel guilty for living in such a rich country… try supporting something real….

      7. Joseppi Tanner says:

        Now let me get this straight , when it’s warmer it snows more. Also when it’s warmer it’s actually colder.

        So when it’s warmer it’s actually colder and also when it’s warmer it’s really warmer.

        Right is wrong and wrong is right?

        Is that kinda like the health care bill saving money even though we are going to bring another 30 million on the roles?
        You should be a politician.

      8. MParker says:

        Amazing! One of my favorite things to do is walk in the forest when it is snowing at -20 degrees. Agilis, just how old are you? Have you even hit puberty yet?

        Honestly, that was the most ignorant statement I have ever read (except for the Algore drones who say that the “Earth have a fever”)

      9. Globull Warming says:

        AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        What a hoot!

      10. Miguel says:

        So, agilis, apparently during the Ice Age when the Mammoths were digging through their snowy environs, it was really Global Warming which was really responsible, not the normal climate variations on our earth’s surface.

      11. wxpert says:

        I don’t know how every article turns into a battle of liberals vs. conservatives, but I’m guessing it has to do with the link to drudge.

        Global warming does lead to more severe storms, more severe droughts, more severe extremes. Synoptic scale meteorological event like these snow storms are enhanced by an overall heating of the atmosphere, and tonight’s storm’s intensity was actually quite strong and rare. We had pounding thundersnow and heavy sleet. This extreme frontogenic lifting and atmospheric potential energy led to snow rates of 5 inches/hour in some locations.

        Looking at a strong winter storm for proof that global warming isn’t occuring is like looking at hail in a summer thunderstorm and saying it must be cold outside. You have to look at all the data to see what’s really going on.

        Keep calling the world flat if it helps you sleep at night.

  25. workingman says:

    you dont mix it it comesfrom a brime well, salt water you get when you drill a well. we also mix it with sand here in northern mich.

    1. wxpert says:

      I don’t know how every article turns into a battle of liberals vs. conservatives, but I’m guessing it has to do with the link to drudge.

      Global warming does lead to more severe storms, more severe droughts, more severe extremes. Synoptic scale meteorological event like these snow storms are enhanced by an overall heating of the atmosphere, and tonight’s storm’s intensity was actually quite strong and rare. We had pounding thundersnow and heavy sleet. This extreme frontogenic lifting and atmospheric potential energy led to snow rates of 5 inches/hour in some locations.

      Looking at a strong winter storm for proof that global warming isn’t occuring is like looking at hail in a summer thunderstorm and saying it must be cold outside. You have to look at all the data to see what’s really going on.

      Keep calling the world flat if it helps you sleep at night.

  26. Wayward says:

    How many gallons of brine make a ton?

    1. Pat says:

      About 236.

    2. crazy says:

      A pint is a pound the whole world round (roughly.) You do the math

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