Italian Cheeses Melt Icy Roads in Wisconsin

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Winter has settled in in northern climes and keeping roads ice-free is expensive. So what else to do in a land where residents wear cheese hats than apply cheesey thinking to the problem? Joining other areas of Wisconsin, Milwaukee this month started using cheese brine, a byproduct from the cheesemaking industry, to de-ice roads, reports The New York Times.

“You want to use provolone or mozzarella,” Jeffrey A. Tews, the fleet operations manager for the public works department, told the Times. “Those have the best salt content. You have to do practically nothing to it.”

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It's a win-win for the cheesemaking industry in the state -- the largest in the nation -- and the local municipalities that take advantage of the free cheese brine. Each side saves tens of thousands of dollars a year, the cheesemakers in waste-hauling costs and local governments in rock salt costs, the paper said.

Cheese brine may freeze at lower temperatures than salt brine, which is good. But when roads warm up in the sun, that could smell pretty bad, right? So far, there haven't been any complaints -- unlike the molasses mixture previously tried that left footprints in people's homes.

Officials are hoping that no one gets down on their hands and knees and gives a mighty sniff.

(Hat Tip to TheVerge.com)

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