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Salt piles may be melting away

Andy Ouriel • Jan 22, 2014 at 12:30 PM

An area salt shortage threatens to keep roads slick and icy for the winter, compromising commuter safety in Erie County.

Morton Salt, which supplies the chemical compound for most area county-based engineer offices and street departments to de-ice roads, ran out of salt.

Erie County engineer Jack Farschman underscored the problem as a driving disaster, so long as snow continues pelting this area.    “We can’t invent salt,” Farschman said. “When the supplier is out, it’s out. I don’t know what we are going to do now. We probably have enough for a day or two. I don’t know if we can make it through the week or not”

In Erie County’s case, officials vowed to pay $27.75 per ton — and budgeted to spend upwards of $108,000 this winter season — so long as Morton provided the salt they promised It appears, Farschman said, Morton could breach their contract if they don’t find salt sometime soon. “They have to provide a certain number of tons” Farschman said. Erie County administrator Pete Daniel said he’s working to get more salt for the area. Upon receiving notice of the shortage Tuesday, the Register immediately relayed questions about the shortage and when more salt could arrive to company executives.

In short: They’re working on it.

“This winter season, demand for road salt has been higher than normal due to the continued snowfall across the country,” spokeswoman Denise Lauer said. “But Morton has one of the largest production and distribution footprints in North America, and we will leverage our mine and salt distribution resources to serve the county. We have already explored several possible options with the county and expect to have a solution in place this week”


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