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* News Release *
 
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
For Immediate Release

BCEO PREPARES FOR WINTER
Snow Summit and Truck Roadeo

Following last winter's onslaught many are anxiously anticipating what kind of winter we'll see this year. The 2013-14 season was the second snowiest in Greater Cincinnati in modern times, but two winters before that was the second least snowiest. Since there is no way to really know what mother nature will dish out, local public works agencies can only do their best to be prepared based on experience and seasonal averages, but always being ready for the worst.

The Butler County Engineer's Office is gearing up for its annual winter prep which includes a Snow Summit next week and truck Roadeo the following week. County Engineer Greg Wilkens points out that both are designed to pull in other public agencies in a collaborative effort that involves idea and resource sharing. "As the price of materials continues to soar, it's imperative that we work together on behalf of the taxpayers to conserve and share resources as much as we can," Wilkens said.

The BCEO hosted a Salt Crisis Roundtable two weeks ago sponsored by the American Public Works Association (APWA) - Southwest Ohio Chapter. Over 85 officials representing jurisdictions from throughout the region participated in the event, which was designed to address the salt shortage and how to conserve road salt more effectively.

Butler County Snow Summit

The BCEO's annual Snow Summit has a more local flavor, intended for local Butler County townships and cities to gather and coordinate efficient organization among agencies during severe winter weather events. This year's Summit will be held next Tuesday, October 21 from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon at the Engineer's Office.

Those gathered will learn, discuss, and work to better organize winter operations, policies, and procedures. The nationwide salt shortage will also be an important topic. Attending the Summit will be management teams and supervisors who play a role in winter weather operations for the County, cities, townships, and various other agencies, including the Red Cross, Police and Fire Chiefs Associations, and representatives from local school districts.

Snowfighters Truck Roadeo

The annual Snowfighters Truck Roadeo is the second component of winter preparations at the Engineer's Office. Snow plow drivers from cities and townships throughout Butler County join BCEO crews for in-class training, review of safety procedures, salt truck preparation, and the actual roadeo competition. The competition allows crews to practice truck maneuvers through an obstacle course designed to simulate actual winter situations. BCEO crews will also run their actual snow plow routes, re-familiarizing themselves with various land features and structures near the roadway.

This year's Roadeo is scheduled for Thursday, October 30.

Salt Supplies, Salt Contract

The BCEO will begin this winter season with 13,000 tons of salt stored in two barns, each with a capacity of 6,500 tons. "We are fully stocked thanks to good planning and a proactive approach by our Operations Department," Wilkens said.

Another proactive and cost-saving measure by the Butler County Engineer's Office is to get its salt contract in place early -- as in the previous spring -- thus avoiding the late demand and high prices. This year the BCEO awarded its salt contract for the upcoming winter season back on May 22 to Cargill Deicing Technology which submitted a low bid of $66.71 per ton. Even if road salt is in high demand this winter, the BCEO is locked in at that price. There are many reports of salt prices exceeding $150 per ton already this fall.

"We are fortunate, but still must do all that we can to conserve our salt supplies," said Scott Bressler, BCEO Operations Deputy. "That includes the use of other deicing agents such as brine, calcium, and beet juice. It also means more efficient calibration of equipment used to disperse the salt." Bressler said that his snow and ice control team has a collective 540 years of experience with an average of 16.36 years. "We have one of the most experienced teams in the area," he noted. "We're grateful for their hard work and endurance each year."

# # #

For more information contact:

Chris Petrocy, BCEO Public Information Supervisor
Greg Wilkens, P.E., P.S., Butler County Engineer
Phone 513.867.5744 • Fax 513.867.5849


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