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Harsh Winter Has Municipalities Struggling To Stretch Salt Supplies

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- It may look like Bethel Park has an abundant supply of salt heading into this latest winter storm, but the drain on the supply has been wide open lately.

"The other day we used a thousand tons - that's quite a bit."

So, with an ice storm looming, Municipal Manager Jerry Duke said, "I think everybody in this business is worried if you have enough, but we're cautiously optimist that we have enough."

Most of the road salt for our area arrives by barge and is then driven in big trucks to the municipal salt sheds. Only those barges have been in river ice as far down river as St. Louis.

"That problem is behind them," said Shacog Executive Director Lou Gorski. "There are barges on the river, everything is coming in. They have adequate supply on the ground to meet the demand; the only issue is delivering it to the municipalities."

There are just so many trucks and the process is time consuming.

Gorski manages the salt buying contract for 112 municipalities in Allegheny and Butler counties.

"If we do get that ice storm, plows are useless. They need that salt," he says.

Gorski has been on the phone determining the minimum needs of his municipalities.

"So, what we're trying to do is guarantee that at the time of order the municipality will get at least that minimum," Gorski said.

Gorski says by managing the flow, he's optimistic the crews will get through this latest storm and keep the roads open.

Meanwhile, Duke is being careful with the salt Bethel Park has.

"We are also supplementing it with some sand to and kind of to stretch it out and to take care of some of the ice issues," he said.

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