US salt producers are running at
high operating rates to guarantee deicing road salt supply to
cities which have been hit by the harsh winter.
Greg Norris, plant manager for US
salt producer, American Rock Salt, told WXXI that
its going to become a very productive and very busy
winter for us here at the salt mine.
Norris said that the company, which
is the largest producing underground salt mine in the country,
is producing between 14,000 and 20,000 tpd of rock salt.
He added that American Rock Salt
has built 20 salt piles across the northeastern US to keep the
supply closer to customers.
US salt producer, Compass Minerals,
also saw a growth in sales of 31% during the same period. The
company sold 4.1m tonnes salt by the last three months of 2013,
compared with sales of 2.3m tonnes for the same period of
The frequent and widespread
snowfall throughout our service territories has supported
higher sales of packaged consumer and professional deicing salt
as well, Fran Malecha, Compass Minerals CEO,
Eleven representative cities within
the primary North American highway, which are supplied by
Compass, reported a total of 81 snow events in Q4 2013,
compared with only 36 events in the same period of 2012, and a
10-year average of 44.8 events.
According to Roskill, K+S
Group, which owns the second largest salt producer in the US,
Morton Salt, sold 52% more deicing salt during the first nine
months of 2013, compared with the same period in 2012.
Salt supply is also guaranteed by a
significant stockpile, which has been accumulated by many US
companies over the last two years.
Cities halved salt
Several cities in the US have seen
shortages in road salt supplies as a consequence of the snowy
winter, but they have successfully ordered new deliveries.
According to local US news
source, Springfield-News Leader, the City of
Springfield, Missouri, started the winter season with a total
of 6,000 tonnes salt, but was hit by a winter with rigid
temperatures and snow.
Currently, we are well under
1,000 tonnes, which is typically one-fourth of what wed
want to keep in store for snow removal, said Ron Bailey,
the citys superintendent of streets.
Michael Middleton, district
maintenance for the Missouri Department of Transportation,
explained that light snowfall requires very little salt, but
storms with freezing rain and ice require the use of large
The city of Milwaukee, in Southeast
Wisconsin, US, has almost halved its road salt supply during
this years rigid winter.
However, Sandy Rusch Walton,
communication manager from the Department of Public Work, said
to local news provider Fox6now that the city will be
able to deal with rock salt supply for the remaining winter
In Pennsylvania, David Finch,
public works director at the borough of Chambersburg, said to
Public Opinion local news: So far we estimate
weve used about 383 tonnes of salt. We only have storage
for about 250 tonnes in total.
We have ordered new material
two times in December, and again here in January, he
The Pennsylvania Department of
Transportation said to Public Opinion that remaining
salt stock of 61,440 tonnes will be sufficient to handle
several storms in the District 8 of the state.
spending in salt reached $28m
Meanwhile, the Rhode Island
Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has revealed that the
state has spent $28.3m in road salt since 2009, for a total
amount of 413,000 tonnes salt.
The RIDOT told WPRI that,
although a more efficient use of salt has reduced purchases of
salt in 2013 by about 14% compared with 2009, salt becomes less
efficient at temperatures below 15ûF.
In these cases, we have to
increase the salt application rate or frequency, in addition to
ploughing, to improve the roadway conditions, it
According to WPRI, the
cost of road salt in Rhode Island has dropped from $81/tonne in
2009 to $56/tonne in 2013, with a 41% reduction of the total
costs. However, the price increased by $2/tonne compared with
New year opens with a
tragic accident at salt firm
Finally, a workman tragically died
at the International Salts storage facility in
Pennsylvania on 2 January 2014.
According to Philadelphia Daily
News, the man was buried alive by a 30-metre tall
stockpile of rock salt, which collapsed during moving
International Salt is a US salt producer with salt mines in
Chile Tarapacas salt flat and with affiliated operations
including Saline Diamante Branco and Empremar SA.
Brine water for deicing
Oil and gas companies are also positive about this years
Brine water, a by-product of oil
and gas extraction operations, can help to deice roads,
according to Rhonda Reda, executive director of the Ohio Oil
and Gas Energy Education Program.
In 2003, Ohio-based oil company,
Duck Creek Energy, created AquaSalina, a brine water product
consisting of processed seawater, which has been used by
several snow removal contractors and municipalities in
Kris Kamps, former director of Public Service and Properties
for North Royalton, Ohio, told The Daily & Sunday
Jeffersonian, that he used AcquaSalina for a number of
years, as it is efficient for deicing at low temperatures and