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Compact blending systems are stand-alone units that serve multiple functions, such as blending winter liquids, or loading and unloading truck liquid systems. The pictured system above (external view is below) costs $12,000 versus multipump systems requiring buildings and extensive plumbing systems, which can exceed $30,000. To get started, consult an organization that specializes in onsite blending training and development. Staff can be trained to blend winter liquids in as little as half a day. Photos: Harvey Williams

Plan ahead

How to move from being “storm fighters” to “event managers.”

Developing a combined approach of blended winter liquids, trained staff, storm management practices, and proper equipment reduces costs by about a third.

When developing a service level plan for winter maintenance, review the history of pavement temperatures, types of precipitation, inches of snow received, and average number of events per year. This helps determine how many pounds of salt will be needed to melt a determined amount of snow for the upcoming season.

Add the service target — for instance, to have arterial roadways clear at all times and enough snow removed from residential roads to maintain public safety — to generate parameters for determining how many and what kinds of trucks, plows, end loaders, de-icing products, liquid and granular products, and staffing are needed in a particular situation. Don't forget meteorological services that provide a blueprint of what to expect with each storm.

After all your investigation, remember that you must also have salt storage equal to a full season's average needs.