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Enough Salt for This Storm, But What Happens Then?

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LACKAWANNA COUNTY -- Thursday's winter storm is sure to put even more strain on salt sheds, municipal budgets, and private plowers.

Rock salt has become a hot commodity this winter and people responsible for plowing fear what will happen if this rough winter goes on any longer.

Scranton is just one of the municipalities in Lackawanna County that's running low on rock salt with the winter we've had. And some community leaders say it's not for lack of trying, or even lack of funds. It's just that salt is in such high demand that it's more difficult to get.

Talk about the nick of time. A salt supply company dropped off about 50 tons of rock salt at the PennDOT stockpile near Daleville giving plowers a safe guard for the upcoming storm.

PennDOT plowers said they had just enough to get through the next storm. But, what if the winter goes on longer?

The folks who run the stockpile near Daleville said they have a hefty backorder of salt they're owed. But, suppliers are strained too.

In neighboring Spring Brook Township, there was no last-minute delivery. The salt supply there is pretty much depleted to about 40 tons of rock salt.

Township officials said they will use it sparingly for this storm because they've tried to order more salt but their contracted supplier, and others, are out.

"We're with a state contract but we've tried two others. They don't have any salt. You'll have to get your salt and pepper shakers out!" said Spring Brook Township Supervisor Jack Flyte.

That's not too far off from Michael Schank's contingency plan.

He's a private plower and having trouble getting the salt he needs too. He may result to ripping open bags of salt that he usually sells. His supplier cut him back by almost 50 percent and he fears he won't have enough to service his clients for the rest of the winter.

"We're on allocation, the municipalities and the government agencies get first dibs on everything, and we get whatever scraps are left," Schank said.

PennDOT officials said just in Lackawanna County, crews have used double the amount of rock salt they used last winter. But, fortunately they have not had trouble getting the supply they need.

So, for this storm, PennDOT is actually helping out the city of Scranton which isn't as lucky. Officials said PennDOT salt sheds in Susquehanna County provided 200 tons of extra salt for DPW crews in Scranton.


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