Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

Cook County Highway Department Awarded OPERA Grant to Trial Potassium Acetate Deicer

Jul 29, 2022 11:21AM ● By Content Editor

Photo: Kenny Eliason

Grand Marais, MN, July 29, 2022—The Cook County highway department applied for and has been awarded the maximum grant amount of $20,000 from the Minnesota Local Road Research Board. The grant is part of the Local Operation Research Assistance (OPERA) Program.

OPERA’S purpose is to fund and share innovations in operations, construction, and maintenance relating to methods, materials, and equipment for local government transportation agencies.

The grant ensures that the Cook County highway department can continue to expand trials of potassium acetate as an alternative treatment to the winter sand used to treat roadways after plowing snow. Potassium acetate-based deicer is biodegradable, non-corrosive, non-toxic, and overall is far less hazardous to the environment than road salt. Potassium acetate deicer is commonly used at airports due to its non-corrosive quality, as well as in fixed bridge and tunnel deicing systems by MnDot.

In exchange for the grant, the highway department will submit field test reports and findings back to the Local Road Research Board. Those findings are then shared with other road authorities throughout the country to help encourage a safe, efficient, and environmentally sound transportation network.

The highway department is cognizant of the environmental costs of using road salt, especially working between Lake Superior and the pristine water bodies of Superior National Forest. Our goal is to find a cost-effective method to reduce or eliminate chloride pollution in winter maintenance, while maintaining or improving safety on county highways.

For additional information, please call the Cook County Highway Department, 218-387-3014 or visit:


About Cook County, MN

Cook County encompasses the sovereign nation of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; the City of Grand Marais; the Townships of Lutsen, Tofte and Schroeder; and unincorporated areas in the easternmost part of Minnesota’s North Shore. Cook County Government values transparency and strives to deliver superior services and programs in a fiscally responsible way. We value the dignity of all County residents and seek to create a community that provides opportunity for all. Many of our offices are in the Cook County Courthouse at 411 W 2nd St, Grand Marais 55604. Other departments and facilities, such as the Airport, Community Center, Highway and Sheriff are located nearby. Call 218-387-3000 or visit:


Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here