City Desk

The District Spends $18K on Beet Juice, and Other Fun Snow Facts


The D.C. Snow Team, a joint effort of the departments of public works and transportation, announced yesterday it would have more than 200 plows on the District's streets by 8 a.m. today. Crews have already applied solutions to bridges and "challenging streets" to reduce the possibility of ice forming.

So while you waste/drink away your snow day,  here are some fun facts about the city's response to this blustery mess:

  • The city uses a salt brine/beet juice solution to pretreat roads before a snowstorm. The beet juice is supposed to be better for the environment and helps the brine stick to the road. D.C. started this snow season with 60,000 gallons of the solution, which includes 9,000 gallons of beet juice. The cost of the beet juice: $18,000.
  • The Department of General Services coordinates the ice and snow cleanup for 861 District properties.
  • The Department of Corrections deploys crews to assist with critical sidewalk cleanups.
  • In the 2012-2013 snow season, the city saw 2.5 inches of snow and spent $6.2 million on snow cleanup.
  • The city has three different mobilization plans: Full Deployment, Partial Deployment, and Prowl Deployment. Full deployment occurs when there is an anticipated snowfall between .5 and six inches. In these cases, the city deploys 106 heavy plows, 82 light plows, and 40 NHS plows. If there is more than six inches of snow, the city contracts out additional plows.
  • In the 2012-2013 snow season, there were eight full deployments.
  • This snow season, the city has a total of 347 snow-related vehicles in its fleet, including 154 heavy plows.

(These facts come from a Department of Public Works spokeswoman and the District's Snow Removal Team's 2013-2014 snow removal program.)

Photo by Perry Stein
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