Sunday, April 14, 2024

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Westport Going Easy on the Salt

By James Lomuscio

A tough winter has made road salt a rare commodity, causing Westport’s Department of Public Works (DPW) to ration it to get through the next storm predicted to dump three to four inches of snow Saturday, Steve Edwards, director, said today.

WestportNow.com Image
Westport DPW workers prepared for a storm two months ago. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“Essentially we’re very low on salt, and we had to limit our use last night,” Edwards said. “That’s why you’ll still notice some areas where it is not as spotless out there. We’re rationing it.”

According to Edwards, his department put down 300 tons of salt Thursday, less than what would have been preferred. That is becuase the DPW only has 350 tons left, and restocking proves difficult.

“The governor has put out a statement that the state is out of salt, so we’re having a tough time finding (it),” he said.

The salt Westport gets from the state originates at mines in the Great Lakes region and arrives in Connecticut at New Haven’s Gateway Terminal. The reasons for the run on it has been more communities using greater quantities over the past decade due to harsh winters, and that more salt and less sand are being used, Edwards said.

“In the past, we had more of a salt-sand mix, but now it’s 90 percent salt and 10 percent sand,” he said.

Edwards said the mixture change is because salt is a more effective treatment allowing for easier cleanup and reduced risk of clogged storm sewers.

But with less salt to go around, DPW is going easy on it.

“The roads will be clear,” he said. “They won’t be as spotless, but they will be safe.

“We hold ourselves to a high standard, and that standard is being tested now,” he said. “The good news is that next week it’s supposed to be in the 40s.”

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