Violet Township scrambles to find storage for road salt
With winter fast approaching, one can never have enough rock salt on hand to melt away hazardous ice.
Violet Township, however, is in a quandary of sorts regarding where to store the salt it receives from provider American Rock Salt Co., as it finds all of its available storage basins chock full despite being contractually obligated to take another large delivery of salt by the end of the year.
Violet Township Engineer Greg Butcher advised the Violet Township Board of Trustees about the problem Oct. 17.
"I called American Rock Salt. There is 496 tons of salt we need to take delivery on by the end of the year," Butcher told the trustees.
"What options do we have?" he said.
"At this time they haven't come up with any options.
"Perhaps we look outside the township," Butcher said.
"There are adjoining areas where we may be able to store salt. Our capacity in the township is pretty well exhausted, everything is full."
After the meeting, Butcher said he "just wanted to keep that information in front of the trustees so we're all aware of the obligation."
He said a provision in the contract that would charge the township a $5 per ton storage fee for any unused salt expires when the township's contract with American Rock Salt expires Dec. 31, thus that option is closed.
Butcher said the township's salt reserves are full as a result of "the very,very light seasonal winter of 2011-12, that explains it."
He said the township's main storage unit at its maintenance facility on North Center Street holds 800 tons of rock salt and is full.
Butcher said the weather might be a determinant factor in reducing township stockpiles.
"We'll likely use some salt prior to the end of the year, so whatever comes out of storage can be used to take a bite out of that 500 tons."
He said the township needs to consider other stockpile options such as "tarping," in other words, finding suitable space in which to dump a load of salt and placing a tarp over it.
Butcher said another option includes selling the excess salt to another jurisdiction.
"I don't think we would be in a position to donate it to anyone," he said.
Butcher said what can't be avoided, however, is the actual delivery of the 500 tons.
"Between now and the end of the calendar year, we have to make arrangements for delivery," he said.
"It can be done in increments, say 150 tons, then 250 tons, so it's a fluid, moving target."
He said the township has partnered with the city of Pickerington to get its salt from Cargill Corp. for this year.
"What we've done in the past is utilized the state of Ohio's Cooperative Purchase Program where the state does the bidding and then we piggyback off of that contract," Butcher said.
"This year we're going independent along with city of Pickerington.
"It results in a lower contract price than what we've had the last couple of years," Butcher said.
Violet Township also has a cooperative agreement with Pickerington for salt brine.
"The city of Pickerington has a storage tank at their water treatment plant on Diley Road where they actually make the salt brine," Butcher said.
"We either haul it from there directly and (immediately) place it on our roads or we have two 2,500 storage tanks where we then store the salt brine."