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updated: 11/28/2012 8:27 PM

Village prepares for snow season

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Village of Lombard

LOMBARD, Illinois--The Lombard Public Works Department is revved up for the snow season!

Salt and an anti-icing "cocktail" are used for the first inch of accumulation and plows are used after that. For a snowfall up to eight inches, operations typically end 12 hours after the snowfall has stopped. (Visit the Village's website,, for status updates during larger events.)

What is an anti-icing cocktail?

Crews will spray a brine solution onto the busier streets in anticipation of snow or ice that shows up as lines running down the pavement. This solution is a "cocktail" consisting mostly of salt brine with a portion of calcium chloride (for low temperatures) and beet juice (for adherence). This enables safer travel at the start of a storm, more time for crews to mobilize after hours (especially in the middle of the night), eliminates overtime for minor accumulations and reduces the amount of chlorides entering our receiving waterways.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has identified chlorides as a pollutant that harms the integrity of these and other waterways to host fish and the insects that they rely upon. Therefore, municipalities have been actively working to reduce the amount of chlorides (most notably, rock salt) used in the watersheds of the East Branch DuPage River and Salt Creek. The use of anti-icing spray before a storm helps greatly in this manner. In addition, anti-icing spray is also applied to dry rock salt as it is dispersed from trucks in order to reduce the scatter off the street and make it work faster. Lombard has been able to reduce its salt application rate by half as a result of these practices.

How are streets prioritized?

There are 133 miles of streets in Lombard, which is the distance to Madison, WI. There are 10 maintenance priorities for snow removal, in this order: (1) all streets accessible for emergency vehicles; (2) arterial & collector streets passable for general public; (3) local streets passable for general public; (4) arterial & collector streets to normal conditions; (5) commuter parking lots and public buildings accessible; (6) corners pushed back within two blocks of schools; (7) local streets to normal conditions; (8) alleys accessible; (9) snow removed from middle of certain lengths of Main Street, St. Charles Road and Westmore Avenue and (10) corners pushed back everywhere. Thus, the policy is really as simple as the busier the street, the higher the priority. That said, Public Works will respond immediately whenever requested by the Police or Fire Department for an emergency. Crews work in nine zones until the job is done.

What rules apply during a snow event?

Local ordinances are meant to allow snow removal to be done as efficiently and safely as possible. The two rules to remember are: (1) do not park on the street after one inch of snow has fallen, and (2) do not place snow onto a street, sidewalk or alley. After one inch of snowfall, and sometimes sooner, trucks have their plows down, which increases the chances for an accident with a parked car. Side view mirrors are an occasional casualty of cars unlawfully parked on the street. In addition, the inability to clear the entire road will either delay the operation or leave an uncleared area. The Police Department has the ability to issue tickets and have vehicles towed.

How can I keep my driveway from being plowed in?

The plows push snow toward the curb so a driveway opening will necessarily accept more snow than a curb face. In order to minimize the amount in the driveway, leave snow in place for the last foot of the driveway until the snow removal operation is done.

What does the Village's snow operations involve?

Most of the 53 employees in Public Works perform duties during winter storms. Salting and plowing is done by maintenance workers, water operators, mechanics, engineering staff and seasonal drivers. The Village is divided into nine zones and employees drive 18-27 trucks divided into the zones until each is completed. Each work period normally lasts eight to 12 hours. Administrative staff directs the operation, monitors weather reports, answers the phones, investigates reported problems and updates the website. Repairs for water main breaks and potholes are also often performed concurrently with snow operations.

Where can I learn more?

Visit or call the Public Works Department at

(630) 620-5740.