Road salt prices expected to skyrocket

Norwalk used close to 1,400 tons of salt last winter.
Scott Seitz2
Jun 16, 2014

The last thing local residents probably want to think about is winter weather.

But, for city and county officials, now is the time to develop a strategy involving road salt.

At last Tuesday's Norwalk city council meeting, Josh Snyder, public works director, presented a resolution stating the city plans to order salt through a cooperative purchasing program with the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Norwalk paid $36.47 per ton last winter.

Snyder anticipates prices to be much higher this year.

"I wouldn't be surprised," he said. "Salt is a commodity and they (salt suppliers) know people need it.

"There are so many variables out of our control," Snyder added. "The No. 1 thing is weather that will drive the price."

Norwalk used close to 1,400 tons of salt last winter.

"We had a similar situation after the 2007 winter going into 2008," Snyder said. "The price per ton was $42 in 2007 and jumped to $74 in 2008. I anticipate a similar jump this year."

The city has between 200 and 300 tons left over from last winter, Snyder said.

Norwalk will order 1,500 tons of salt once council approves the resolution.

Joe Kovach, engineer, said Huron County does not go through ODOT when ordering salt.

The county paid about $33 per ton last year.

"We're watching other counties bid now," Kovach said. "We're just sort of waiting ad seeing what happens with the prices."

Kovach said Auglaize County, which paid $41 per ton last year, received prices ranging from $69 to $91 per ton this year.

"We're hearing it could be double or triple the cost of last year," Kovach said.

The salt docks in Sandusky, Cleveland and Toledo supply this area.

The county has about 1,000 tons of salt in storage.

"We're looking to take another 2,500 tons," Kovach said.

The county stores salt at the highway department in Norwalk and also at bins in Ripley Township and DeRussey Road.

"We used about 4,000 tons last year," Kovach said. "We'd like to build another storage area near Willard. But, the cost of doing that is about $80,000."

Kovach said the county is bracing for high salt prices.

"I'm not hearing good news," he said. "I figured the price would go up because nobody had it last year. We had a terrible, terrible winter. It's really a supply-and-demand thing.

"Auglaize County's prices were not quite double, but that's still ugly," the engineer said.

"The more salt we buy, the less money we have for paving," he said. "Building bridges and paving is our priority right now."

The townships and Willard get salt through the county, Kovach said.

Snyder said it's not really feasible for Norwalk and Huron County to order salt together.

"The issue is, we take such a large quantity," Snyder said. "It would be really hard to measure out the quantity we take without any scales."

Comments

togbert71

Where? Sure as h8ll didn't salt my street...

ferball14

The city used 1400 last year, has 300 left, is ordering 1500...... why not save some money and only order 1100 to equal what you used last year?? At least the county is doing their part and is going to end up stock piling 500 LESS than what they used last year....

FTFOI

How about using the load weight ticket Mr. Snyder. Why do you need a scale? You could use the Dauche scale, Or Sunrise.

shovelhead

No kidding. And this material should be staged in other areas too. You don't need an $80K building to store salt in. They dump it right on the ground in Sandusky & cover it up with a tarp weighted down. The biggest expense associated with this stuff is the fuel costs to move it. Make the contractors haul it where you need it and stage a loader down there. Make the driver load himself too. Don't just have a guy sit in the loader & work about 4 minutes per hour. These things are "construction 101". Dig deep & quit acting like you have unlimited resources. We are broke & still spendin'.

KURTje

Has anyone experimented with field corn? While it sounds strange it has worked on my Twp. Road with a few caveats. There has to be alternatives than just salt.

Tippythehippy's picture
Tippythehippy

pretty good idea!

shovelhead

What a stupid thing to say. We can't split the salt without scales. This guy should be removed if this is all the smarter he is with our money. You HAVE to combine purchases with everyone willing to buy...if you want the best price. Every load has a weight ticket. Dump everyone's salt into their own piles....wherever they want it. This stuff doesn't have to be inside of a building. 200 tons of salt is only as big as a 2 car garage...cover it up. A nice expensive tarp from Skins would do the job for around $1,000, and last for years. Throw a bunch of old tires on top for the summer.

Windy

What about global warming? Salt prices should go down because it will be too warm to snow next winter.

Kobayashi Maru

The students never go to school on snowy days, why not just shut everything down whenever it snows and wait until it melts? Then no one could complain about snow days as everyone would get one! We'd save money on wages and salt! Win-win!

Tippythehippy's picture
Tippythehippy

could we look into sand? Cinders? I know other states use these on their roads with success. Corn was a good idea too! Not like we dont have enough of it around here.

ladydye_5

Yes, many use a mix of sand/salt or cinder/salt.

Contango

Newest predictions for El Nino effects show a potentially dry winter.

The cost may be spread over two or more yrs.

Windy

They predicted it would be warmer than average with equal chances for precipitation this past winter. Prediction is another word for guesswork.

Contango

So the potential for spreading the costs over a couple yrs. would be bad?

Windy

No, just don't count your chickens until they're hatched, that's all.

44846GWP

There is no shortage of salt under Lake Erie. More corprate greed.