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

Salt-Water Concoction Costs Just 7 Cents A Gallon
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Pickle juice mix

One N.J. county is using a salt/water mixture that resembles pickle juice in place of more expensive salt on roadways. (Photo: CBS 2)

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.

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