Olentangy Valley News

City, township prepare for coming snow, ice

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Local officials are gearing up for snow and ice as winter approaches.

The city of Powell has a full stock of rock salt in storage -- about 500 tons.

Public Service Director Jeff Snyder said the city saved on salt during this year's mild winter, which brought unusually warm temperatures and little snow.

"We may have used half as much salt, and that's on the high side," Snyder said. "There were some events where we had to go out and salt due to slick roads, but not nearly what we would see in a typical Ohio winter."

The city spreads an average of 1,400 tons per winter to keep roads clear. Snyder said the city replenishes its stores as needed during winter months.

The city has seven trucks; five are used to spread salt and plow snow, and two are dedicated to plowing. Snyder said the vehicles all are relatively new and in good condition.

"These trucks can go a long time," he said. "We're in good shape equipment-wise, staff-wise and salt-wise. Whatever happens, we'll be ready for it."

Meanwhile, Liberty Township is rolling out a new brine solution officials say will keep roads clear for less money this winter.

In September, the township entered into an agreement to purchase salt brine -- a solution containing about 10 percent salt and 90 percent water -- from Genoa Township for about 8 cents per gallon.

Township Administrator Dave Anderson said the deal will result in significant savings because the brine solution can be sprayed as a preliminary measure during winter snow events to keep roads clear.

Rock salt still will be needed in case of substantial ice or snowfall.

The township spent about $14,000 to modify its old salt truck to include a brine-spreading apparatus, and purchased a 6,250-gallon holding tank for roughly $3,750 -- expenses that could be offset by savings within two years, Anderson said.

The township also used less salt this year because of the mild weather. About $71,000 of the budgeted $88,000 was spent; the remainder went to purchase the brine spreader and holding tank.

Earlier this year, township officials discussed a need for more salt storage and considered purchasing a new salt barn that would triple storage capacity, but the project was delayed until at least 2013.

The existing building holds just 500 tons of salt, so stores must be frequently replenished, said township Roads Superintendent Randy Leib.

"We're still interested in pursuing that, but as it stands, it's not going to happen this year," Anderson said.

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