Spring Grove Public Works awarded for snow and ice control

SPRING GROVE - The Village of Spring Grove Public Works Department was recently recognized for its snow and ice preparedness.

In December, the village won the American Public Works Fox Valley Branch Excellence in Snow and Ice Control Award. Upon winning the award, Spring Grove was entered into the APW Chicago Metro Chapter, and this month Public Works Supervisor Matt Wittum was informed the village won that award as well.

"For a small community, it was humbling to win the Fox Valley Branch," Wittum said. "But I was in disbelief for a while that we won the Chicago Chapter."

Wittum credits the quality of the village's road treatment mix, and its cost effective methods of obtaining equipment, for winning the awards.

Several years ago the village adopted a salt brine and a sugar beet byproduct first pioneered by the McHenry County Department of Transportation. Wittum estimates the mixture, 80 percent salt brine 20 percent beet juice, saved the village $10,000 a year by not having to dump pure salt on the roads.

The Village was able to further cut costs by obtaining a salt tank free of charge from Wittum's father-in-law, who is a farmer. Wittum was also able to trade a local farmer asphalt grindings for an additional salt brine tank.

Both pieces of equipment would cost upwards of $7,000 from a manufacturer, Wittum said.

"We were recognized for our creativity," he said. "Thinking outside the box … People out there saw that we were really doing something good."

Wittum added that the accolades would not be possible without his hard-working crew.

"I've been here since 2003, and it's the worst winter that we've ever had to deal with," he said. "This winter has given us everything. Heavy snow, ice storms, high wind … Our guys have put in a lot of hours. We've got a great crew."