The seemingly constant barrage of winter storms has not caused problems for the city's public service department, Westerville public service director Frank Wiseman said.

The seemingly constant barrage of winter storms has not caused problems for the city's public service department, Westerville public service director Frank Wiseman said.

With last week's snowfall, the city had most streets cleared by Tuesday afternoon and finished the job Wednesday evening, he said.

Through the end of that storm, the city had used just shy of 4,000 tons of salt for the snow season. Westerville averages about 4,000 tons of salt for a full season, Wiseman said, but officials knew more would be used this year because crews began salting alleys and cul-de-sacs for the first time.

Salt usage has been kept down, he said, because most of this season's weather events have involved snow rather than ice, which requires the use of larger amounts of salt.

"If we get a lot more of the icing conditions where we use a lot more salt, we probably will have to go back to council and ask for more funding, but as we speak right now, we're doing good," he said.

The public service department also is on par for labor costs for snow removal and street salting for 2010, Wiseman said.

For each storm, the city puts snow-removal workers on two 12-hour shifts to allow Westerville's 20-vehicle fleet to be on the street for 24 hours straight of snow removal.

"We try to do that as soon as we can, knowing what's coming up," Wiseman said.

With large snow events like the one that hit last week, he said the public service department gets help with staffing from other departments and works hard to make sure drivers don't work to the point of exhaustion.

"After a while, it does take a toll. You get tired of working 12 hours a day, day after day," he said. "It does take a grind, but we have good crews."

With more of the snow season still ahead, however, Wiseman said the service department might spend more than usual in labor costs for snow removal and could be before city council asking to purchase more salt.

"Of course, we're only in the middle of February, so who knows what will happen from here on out?" he said. "Anything above and beyond now will get us more for labor costs."

Wiseman said he believes Westerville is able to deal with a high volume of winter weather because the staff works hard to evaluate the snow-removal plan each year and to tweak where needed.

"We evaluate what we do every year, and adjust it accordingly," he said. "We find where the problems are and fix them."

And, of course, he said, the workers in the public service department also get a big portion of the credit for keeping the streets cleared.

"They just keep plugging away at it," he said.