Salt shortages continue to concern Berks officials

Salt shortages continue to concern Berks officials

LOWER ALSACE TWP., Pa. - Salt shortages are continuing to plague road crews across the region this winter.

In Berks County, officials say low supplies are forcing many townships to ration their usage, share supplies and seek other methods to preserve product.

"Right now we're mixing cinders with salt, making it last longer," said Rich Bitting, Road Foreman in Lower Alsace Twp.

On Wednesday, Bitting told 69 News that his current salt supply is only enough to make it through one more storm. He said the township has been expecting two more loads for several weeks, and there's no telling when they'll be shipped.

"Nobody has any idea what time… or when it's going to arrive," said Bitting.

It's a waiting game that most Berks townships have experienced all winter.

Of the 73 county municipalities, officials said 43 are part of the same contract under the Berks County Cooperative Purchasing Council, receiving their shipments from Cargill Deicing Technology.

Purchasing Council member Paul Janssen said Cargill is currently only able to supply 500 tons per week to the Berks townships, in total. On average, townships can go through 100-200 tons of salt per heavy snowstorm.

"The stock piles have all been eaten away and now they're stuck to what they can pull out of the mine," said Janssen. "So it's all being rationed to everybody. That's just how it is."

Janssen said the shortage is causing municipalities to share supplies amongst each other.

"Most entities have some salt and those that don't are getting the first bids at the 500 tons that come in. We're all working together," said Janssen. "It's the great part of this project. We're not alone on this. We're all together."

Janssen said an executive meeting has been scheduled with township officials next Wednesday, Mar. 5 to discuss other solutions to manage the shortage.

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