Township’s new salt spreaders saving money

Computers increase efficiency of salt use

Batavia Township’s purchase of computerized salt spreaders is making a big impact on the township’s salt usage already this winter.

Township administrator Rex Parsons said December was a record year for snowfall in the township. Township trucks made 15 rounds on the 67 miles of roads in December compared to 23 rounds for the entire winter season of 2009-2010.

Parsons said the trucks have used 28 percent less salt per average round compared to last season. Total salt used for all 23 rounds for last season was 800 tons compared to 378 for 15 rounds this season. The cost difference at $61.97 per ton is a savings of $3,383 so far this season.

The trustees purchased four computerized salt spreaders last spring, at a cost of $4,900 each at the recommendation of the township maintenance supervisor Kenny Embry.

“I think over the years we’re going to continue to see benefits from that,” Parsons said. “It’s good for the environment, it’s good for our pocketbooks. We thought we were as prudent as we could be with the salt last year and we’re finding out that this computerized system is paying dividends already. ”

The system works by monitoring the truck’s speed and controlling the auger and spreader to ensure the exact amount of 400 pounds per lane mile is used on the roads. The system automatically stops when the truck comes to a stop or backs up. Each system records data on the amount of salt it is dispersing, how long it is dispersing salt, how far the truck has traveled, and how long the spreader was inactive. Parsons said the driver may shut a spreader off while moving from one township road to the next on a county or state road.

“That was a good decision by the trustees and I think it’s been a good thing,” Parsons said.

The trustees said they were very grateful to Embry for the suggestion.

“That’s good Rex. That’s the kind of info we like to here,” Board of Trustees Chairman Lee Cornett said.