County prepares for winter weather events


County staff briefed the Board of County Commissioners on Thursday, November 11, about the county's various measures to prepare for weather-related events this winter.

Road Operations Manager Mike Lowman told the board that their office has been preparing since early this year; activities to this end include training crew for winter operations, storing sand and salt, and producing brine as an anti-icing solution.

Lowman said that the county is one of the few government agencies in the area that has the facilities for making brine. In 2022, the county produced 340,000 gallons of anti-icing solution, according to Lowman. With the salt the county has in storage, the county can manufacture over 415,000 gallons of brine.

Fleet Services Manager Bruce Rohrbough said their office has been preparing for winter operations since mid-September. They have configured their equipment for winter – for example, replacing hydraulic fittings with stainless fittings for the equipment used to dispense brine.

Other equipment like sandbaggers and chippers have been tested, while plowers, anti-icers, and sanders have also been installed on county vehicles.

The city fleet also maintains a fuel island with 20,000 gallons of diesel and unleaded tanks. The county fleet services may order additional fuel if necessary.

Rohrbough added that in an emergency requiring 24-hour operations, county fleet services would operate on two 12-hour shifts, with each shift consisting of four or five technicians and one storekeeper.

Emergency Management Manager Kyle Bustad said they continue to train their staff for emergency events and have been preparing them to use the county’s alert and notification system.

Emergency management has also been conducting outreach programs to inform the public about flood insurance and personal preparedness.

As for the county facilities, Facilities Services Manager Jason Ashe told the board that stormwater catch basins at all county sites have been cleaned in late August and early September. They have also cleaned the roofs, downspouts, and gutter of county buildings and have recently conducted emergency lighting testing.


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  • pheong

    right. can't even clear South Bay Road of snow. Plow the snow inches off the pavement which becomes compacted into ice. their efforts have been a joke for years. lived in upstate NY and you could hear the plows at 4 in the morning scraping the roads clean. The reason for the stiff rubber strips on the plow is to greatly reduce the wear on the roads. So, lower the plow blades and clear the damn snow so that roads are passable. What is the mystery?

    Tuesday, November 14 Report this

  • WayTooOld

    pheong - I lived in Illinois for many years before moving here, and I wondered the same thing. I was told that because the type of precipitation that is the biggest problem here is rain and not snow, roads are domed in the center for more rapid runoff. The next time I got in the car I looked at the roads and couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it before. On my street the center is a good 5 inches higher than the edges. Roads in the Midwest were dead flat, which works better with the snow plow blade.

    Wednesday, November 15 Report this