Is there really a salt shortage?

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16 February 2014

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Something new for everyone to panic about? There’s a salt shortage? Um…not exactly!
Everyone in the private plow business knew the announcement Thursday from Gov. Malloy was coming about the salt shortage…but here’s where it was misleading (NOTE: this is not a political commentary):
*Yes, as he stated salt is a commodity but so is beef, I say that because he was stating the obvious.
*Salt comes to the Northeast via the Ohio and Mississippi rivers which froze earlier than anticipated this year due to colder weather in the South. The weather in general be it on the river or on the roadways is affecting distribution.
*The US as a country has plenty of salt. Salt comsumption is up due to the south needing it but that has nothing to do with the amount available for us (Connecticut). Yes, they are needing to mine it more quickly, but there is no shortage in the mines (underground). The US is the 2nd largest road salt producer in the world next to China.
*Private plow companies tend to also operate some type of warm season business be it gutters, landscaping or tick sprays (as I do) and we’ve been being called upon by our customers to come blow the chunks of salt off people’s lawns that has been dropped by various DOT trucks going down their road as to not burn out their lawns. That salt we’ve blown off shouldn’t have ever come off the salt/pre-treatment trucks, the spreaders were not properly calibrated.
*Private plow companies who pay for their salt/sand/calcium cholirde product very carefully monitor the rate, speed and quanity of product dumped since we can’t call the state and ask for more.
*When private plow companies went to various yards to be filled with salt or sand/salt mix on Wednesday (1.5 days before the announcement from Malloy) ahead of the storm, 99% of the chatter was about the nearest salt being 100 miles out, hence we all bought up as much as we could fit/store.
To recap, there is plenty of salt and used properly it would have lasted longer than now. Salt was dropped and wasted at such a rate that homeowners have paid for people to blow salt off their lawns much like leaves are removed. That salt is now lost and wasted. LESSON: Although this varies by town, place the call asking your town if their spreaders are properly calibrated!
Remember, this is not about politics, it’s about conserving our reserves and we’ll have what we need, when we need it.

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