The Swellesley Report has put its best beet reporter on the case and sniffed out what that aroma is that’s been wafting above Wellesley streets in recent days.
We received a message from a concerned citizen on Friday who asked what was with the “dregs of dripping garbage smeared all over the streets lately?” She noticed this in Lower Falls on Washington Street, on Weston Road in Wellesley Square, and on side streets near the Sprague School. She called the cops to see if anyone else reported this, and says she was told “No.”
The Swellesley reader’s message got me wondering about some unusual striping I’d noticed myself on Linden Street this AM, and whether these lines and that odor might be connected. So I nosed around the Department of Public Works, which solved the mystery without skipping a beet.
I knew something would turnip.
The DPW’s Mike Quinn explains that the town has been pre-treating roadways with a de-icing liquid that is 90% salt brine and 10% beet juice by-product (wonder if they got it from Cocobeet in Wellesley Square?).
“The beet juice by-product acts as a sticking agent and catalyst for the salt brine,” Quinn says.
The environmentally friendly mixture helps the town beat down the amount of rock salt it applies and helps the rock salt it does use work better, he adds.
This is actually the third year that the town has employed the beet-infused solution. Before that, it tried a delicious concoction that included molasses. But it didn’t stick with that.