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Salt problem lies in distribution PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, February 04, 2014 9:00 PM

BY STEPHANIE GROVES

Staff Writer

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City officials in local communities have been busy preparing for the next round of snow events forecasted for the region. Lima and Delphos officials had enough salt to take care of the roadways for this snow event. In contrast, Van Wert has had a difficult time getting another delivery of the ice-melter.

Early Tuesday, Van Wert Safety Service Director Jay Fleming said his crews and plows were ready but at that time, they didn’t have much salt to use on the roads. Fleming said the city has never used this much salt before and that they could only take delivery of the amount they could store.

“We contracted for 420 tons this year and right now, we have some left over for intersections only,” Fleming said.

He said the problem is the city cannot get any additional salt until other contracts are filled.

Fleming spoke with optimism about a conference call with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) later in the afternoon regarding acquiring additional salt for the remaining winter months.

“We have been asking for a delivery for the last couple of weeks,” Fleming said. “I’d be happy to pay more per ton.”

Tuesday evening, Fleming reported the conference call ended with positive results or his city and other municipalities struggling with the same problem.

“The Van Wert County Garage made 100 tons of salt available to the city,” Fleming said. “We appreciate that a great deal.”

In addition, he explained ODOT will be dispersing 150,000 tons of salt to different areas experiencing shortages throughout the state.

Interim Delphos City Safety Service Director Sherryl George said Delphos received a delivery of 150 tons of salt last week. She said the city is locked in with a $38 per ton price through the county.

“We have been preparing for this next snow event by clearing the snow mounds in the middle of the roadways from the previous snow falls,” George said Tuesday. “The plows are on the trucks and crews are ready to go.”

Lima’s Director of Public Works Howard Elstro said they have 400 tons of salt on hand and the crews are ready to do what it takes to clear the roadways.

“As soon as the event begins, there are 8-12 employees and trucks deployed,” Elstro explained.

He said there has been a huge run on salt this year and distribution is the problem, not the supply. Elstro said Lima also paid $38 per ton this year, which is quite a bit cheaper than the $62 per ton rate five years ago.

“During a typical year, we use an average of 14,000 tons of salt,” Elstro said. “From the beginning of the season to Jan. 16, we have used 17,000 tons of salt and it’s only the beginning of February.”

 

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