Salt Supplies Dwindle With Frequent Winter Storms

By Lauren Wanko

Municipalities throughout the state are faced with dangerously low salt supplies. Kearny’s left with about 300 tons of salt — enough to last one storm.

“The street is really, really bad. The snow, the ice, everything,” said Kearny resident Jonathon Parada.

And Belmar is running low.

“We’re using it sparingly,” said Belmar Assistant Superintendent Franny Hines.

This is Belmar’s salt dome, they started the winter with 250 tons of salt. Now they’re down to just 15 tons and the crew expects to use half of that this coming weekend.

When asked if she’s ever seen anything like this in her career, Hines said, “No we’ve always had enough salt. I’m not quite sure what happened at the top level but we’re gonna be interested in finding out so we’re not stuck on our end.”

“The department is working very hard and the supplies on hand are being put out to the public. In addition to that Commissioner Simpson at NJ Dept. of Transportation has been seeking sources of salt outside of the normal channels that we use to get salt,” said NJ Dept. of Transportation Director of Communications Joseph Dee said.

“I have a boat 400 miles form here with a shipment sitting empty at the dock that can bring it to Newark and we are working with the Federal Government because we don’t have an American Flag vessel,” said Simpson.

Belmar gets its salt from Monmouth County, which in turn gets its supply from International Salt. A spokesperson there told NJTV News the demand has been unprecedented, blaming the severe and early winter weather season. International Salt gets its supply from Chile. The ship’s journey is slowed by bad weather too, says the company.

Bradley Beach Public Works crews yesterday had only four tons of salt. Then more snow hit overnight. Today, they’re left with only two-and-a-half tons.

“I went out to the county this morning and they don’t even have any to use. They have very little left for the roads,” Bianchi said.

Monmouth County Department of Public Works and Engineering normally has 20,000 tons salt in full capacity. The director tells NJTV News the county’s basically out of salt except for what’s in trucks — under 800 tons. They’re hopeful for a delivery tomorrow. Bradley Beach has secured another truckload of salt from Neptune Township, but that will only last one storm. Bianchi ordered more from International Salt over a month ago — still nothing. He says orders typically come in a week.

When asked how frustrating it is for him, Bianchi said, “It’s not me, it’s the taxpayers. They’re not gonna be able to drive on the roads like they normally do. The roads will be very treacherous, very icy out there now.”

In Kearny, DPW crews are only salting the hilly sections of town in order to conserve their supply. They’re waiting on about 600 tons of salt.

“Well at the beginning of the season we were well prepared because the sled was completely full. It’s just that it has been storm after storm and big storms so we are using more salt than normal,” said Kearny Public Works Superintendent Gerry Kerr.

Back in Belmar, the Public Works Department bought 50 tons of sand as a back-up. The crew prefers not to use it on the streets, but they’ll mix sand and salt to stretch the supply. And with more expected snow tomorrow, the demand for salt will continue.