Milwaukee Uses Surplus Cheese Brine to De-Ice Roads, Turns into Parody of Itself

As part of an initiative to find environmentally-friendly ways to solve the problem of icy roads, the city of Milwaukee, WI has turned to its most abundant natural byproduct: the town now slathers its pavements with cheese brine.

If it sounds like the most Milwaukee thing that Milwaukee could ever conceive (even more than a sports team whose fanbase literally wears cheese on their heads), it makes sense from a numbers standpoint: the New York Times calculated that the state itself produces 2.7 million pounds of cheese per year, and normally sends the brine byproduct to waste treatment plants. But by mixing the brine with rock salt, the cheese water helps the salt stick to the roads, and also makes it smell like provolone or mozzarella, which, no joke, are the recommended cheeses used for this project:

“You want to use provolone or mozzarella,” said Jeffrey A. Tews, the fleet operations manager for the public works department, which has thrice spread the cheesy substance in Bay View, a neighborhood on Milwaukee’s south side. “Those have the best salt content. You have to do practically nothing to it.”

There is a joke here about eating pavement. There is a joke here about Milwaukee turning itself into a cheese fairyland, made of cheese and governed by a stinky cheese man. There is a joke here about Milwaukee suddenly experiencing an influx of Jewish mouse immigrants. And if we kept going, we would spend the entire day making nothing but cheese road jokes, which, honestly, we never expected to make in our careers.

So we will simply say this: Good job, Milwaukee.


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