In response to PUBLIC WORKS' February 2012 Fleet Management article, “Designing on a Dime,” we received t he following message from Joe Pea, District 3 road foreman for the Knox County Highway.

We are a county highway department that strives to overcome obstacles. In 2011, we built a salt brine generation and distribution system that produced 900 gallons in 80 minutes. Instead of spending $100,000 on a commercial system, we built our own for about $20,000. The following links show what we were able to accomplish.

The department received a 2011 achievement award from the Association of Indiana Counties for our innovative and cost-saving efforts to fight winter storms. (See video below.)

Since then, we have donated the original equipment to Vincennes Municipals and constructed a larger and more efficient generator (see photos). Our new unit makes 2,000 gallons in 20 minutes, which makes it possible to distribute at cost to local public schools, incorporated towns, and other public nonprofit organizations.

Our big truck distribution units cost around $1,400 and use simple gravity-fed distribution, which works great. Our smaller units cost around $300 with small 12-V pumps (others say gravity-fed would work for these also, but we haven't tried).

We've also been helping other counties understand and implement pretreatment strategies into their practices, saving thousands of dollars per storm.