ITD Office of Communication
Rearden’s $60 solution potentially saves thousands for ITD fleet
COEUR d'ALENE - Mike Rearden’s elegantly simple solution to a time-consuming, tank-loading issue in the Idaho Transportation Department’s northern Idaho office may eventually save thousands per region as the department adopts the measure statewide.
For just $60, his innovation allows a necessary filling task to be done more quickly, which means getting trucks back out on the road faster during storms, a direct safety benefit for area drivers.
For just $45, Rearden (pictured here), ITD's northern Idaho Signing & Striping Foreman, created a plumbing change (pictured here) that dramatically cuts the time it takes to refill tanks with critical winter de-icer or salt brine. For $15 more, he added a drain valve and tube (pictured here) to recapture waste brine and run-off, and reduce backsplash.
Beyond winter activities, the solution could also be used for herbicides, pesticides or any liquid where multiple tanks are used in the same operation.
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Filling the two brine tanks on any sander in the district’s winter fleet was time consuming. An employee would fill one tank, then wait as the other tank filled…slowly…via gravity flow. This could take up to 40 minutes.
In the past after loading, the employee often was splashed with the excess product when unhooking the load hose from the truck. The $15 drain valve, which re-directed the excess, eliminated that.
“Where it used to take up to 40 minutes to fill the tank, it now takes just a few minutes to get back on the road and continue deicing,” explained Rearden. “That extra time on the road during a winter storm can be significant, and can make a difference in the safety of drivers.”
“Plus, there’s no splashing salt brine to ruin your shoes and clothes.”
ITD's northern Idaho office will install Rearden’s coupler on all of its brine sprayers. The coupler and drain valve may offer an innovative solution to other ITD districts grappling with the same problem, as well as other departments of transportation nationwide.