It’s getting late in the season, a particularly bad winter season and now leaders in several metro communities are concerned they may not have enough salt to treat the roads.
Normally the regional salt storing facility in grimes is filled with salt, not this winter.
“What’s been unusual this year is just the frequency of events,” says Pleasant Hill community developer, Ben Champ.
The amount of ice, days below freezing and snow is up this year, which is why the amount of salt is down.
On average, 250 tons of salt are used to treat roads before, during and after a storm.
Currently, the city of Pleasant Hill has only 80 tons of salt remaining. Last year at this time they had three times that number.
“Given the point in the year where we are already at we have make sure there is enough left in case of a big ice storm,” says Champ.
West Des Moines public works director, Bret Hodne, is also concerned about his city’s salt supply.
“As a public works manager you don`t sleep very well at night knowing that your running out of salt,” he says.
West Des Moines and Pleasant Hill along with seven other metro communities share the salt warehouse. Some communities’ inventories are dwindling faster than others. West Des Moines public works have enough salt to give away to the communities who are struggling.
Depending on this weekend’s storm and the amount of salt used, communities could be forced to use a salt and sand mixture which isn’t as effective on the roads.
The price of salt is triple of its normal price. Both city’s public works department say they will wait until after the storm to determine if they need to buy more salt.