BUTLER TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Several snowstorms in the past few weeks have meant lots of plowing and salting for PennDOT crews. Salting roads helps keep them clear but road salt can be harmful to the environment.
"We try to find that balance to make sure that we're putting down enough help -- keep the roads passable but not put down so much that we're doing excessive damage to cars or damage to the environment," explained PennDOT official James May.
Storing road salt is a major environmental concern if it isn't done properly.
"Salt many, many years ago was not really stored properly and what would happen is it would seep down into the ground and get into the water system and really cause a lot of problems for residents and for PennDOT," May said.
The Salt Institute recently awarded the PennDOT salt storage facility near Drums with the safe and sustainable snowfighting award.
There are 70 criteria to win the safe and sustainable snowfighting award. The most visually impressive are the massive concrete walls that help keep the salt in and the water out
"The building is so large we can drive our trucks in there, load them up inside, and you don't have issues of the salt spilling on the ground out here," May said.
The shed also has motion-sensor lights that help conserve electricity when no one is inside the building.
"This shed right here is going to be a model for us in the future as we look to upgrade our other storage facilities. The shed behind me will be the model for other storage sheds in our region," May added.