Pickerington Times-Sun

Salt use on record pace, but local supplies plentiful

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

A heavy winter complete with plenty of snow and brutal arctic cold have impacted both Violet Township and the city of Pickerington's salt use.

Violet Township Engineer Greg Butcher said the township appears well in its way to equaling and possibly exceeding its highest salt use in recent memory.

Butcher appeared before the township Board of Trustees Jan. 22 to give them an update about the salt situation.

"We have used 1,150 tons to date," Butcher said.

"That compares to 700 all last year," he said.

"I don't know if we're a third of the way through the calendar winter.

"I just want to keep this in front of you," Butcher said.

The most the township ever used in a season was 2,000 tons of salt, he said.

Whereas the township doesn't have a problem getting salt like some other central Ohio entities, Butcher said if the pace keeps up it could pose problems with the township's budget.

"Three-thousand tons would be very problematic from a budget perspective," Butcher said.

"We need to continue reviewing that in our strategy moving forward," he said.

Butcher attributed Violet Township's lack of a supply problem to the fact "we pay our bills very quickly" and "we take (delivery) at any time, any hour."

He said the township also has a relationship with Henderson Trucking "that manages two big stockpiles in Columbus."

Violet Township has approximately 400 tons of salt stockpiled in its facility at the corner of Pickerington and Stemen Roads.

Butcher said the township uses two suppliers: Cargill and American Rock Salt.

"Cost per ton averages about $60," he said.

The township is staffed with five full-size dump trucks and has an additional truck dedicated to the application of salt brine.

Butcher said the township's primary roads get treated first with salt applications.

He said priority goes to roads with the highest traffic volumes, such as Diley Road, roads with higher speed limits, streets near schools and generally the main road connecting to state Route 204 or county roads such as Refugee Road within a subdivision.

"We want our residents to be able to connect easily with state or county roads," Butcher said.

"After primary streets are treated, our focus is to clear secondary streets," he said.

"Unfortunately, several efforts at clearing primary streets may be required before we move to secondary streets."

Pickerington Service Director Ed Drobina said the city hasn't experienced any supply issues, either.

"We have not had any difficulty receiving salt this winter," he said.

Drobina said usage, however, has escalated for Pickerington as well.

"Estimated use so far this year is 1,303 tons, which is just over what we used all of last year," he said.

Pickerington has 400 tons of salt on hand that is stored at the city's service department facility.

"We only have the capability of storing 600 tons, so I order it as we use it," Drobina said.

As with Violet Township, salting priority for the city of Pickerington is given to the main roads "then the main roads through subdivisions along with curves and hills," Drobina said.

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