Cheese Brine Used to Salt Wisconsin Roads

Cheese is a magical, magical thing (sorry vegans). There are few problems that cannot be solved with cheese — including, as it turns out, too much snow. The city of Milwaukee is trying out a new program to salt the roads with cheese brine instead of dry rock salt. Cheese brine is about what it sounds like: a salty, liquid by-product of making cheese. And because this is Wisconsin, they have lots of it.

Several highway districts in the state are already using the new method to keep roads clear this year. It's theoretically less wasteful and more environmentally friendly than traditional rock salt. With dry rock salt, 20 to 30 percent of what cities put down is actually scattered and bounced off the roads by normal traffic activity. But by mixing some road salt in with cheese brine, the city can hopefully use less salt, which is more cost effective and results in less salt-water runoff into streams and lakes. So this seems like a win-win for everyone, including the cheese plant that is currently donating the brine. Yay for creative problem solving!

Of course, one does have to wonder, is Milwaukee going to smell like mozzarella now? And, if this experiment works, could cheese brine be coming to a city snow plan near you? I mean, most cities don't have a handy cheese plant down the road to donate the product, but it's hard to believe that, if this experiment proves successful, companies won't jump at the chance to sell what used to be just a waste product. Who knows, maybe twenty years from now, the smell of cheese will just be a normal part of our winter wonderlands.