Amid a flurry of winter storms that have blasted the Lehigh Valley, Upper Macungie officials say the township is facing a gaping 700 ton salt shortage that has hampered their ability to respond to a grueling winter season.
Scott Faust, director of the public works department, estimates that they currently have retained approximately 400 tons following this week’s pair of winter storms.
“We’ve been trying to use the salt sparingly,” he said.
The township has mixed its salt supply with anti-skid to try to maximize the lifespan of their remaining quantity, but this has not been enough to make up for the chasm created by undelivered supplies.
“We’re awaiting salt shipments like everybody else,” he lamented. “We’re awaiting a 700 ton order of salt.”
Later in an interview he also claimed that nearly every municipality in the Lehigh Valley was dealing with the same issue.
Faust said the township placed their order back on January 6th in anticipation of the season to come, but that a widespread salt shortage has left Upper Macungie more vulnerable to severe weather and its’ harmful effects.
Upper Macungie Police Chief Edgardo Colón commented at Thursday’s township supervisors meeting that the severe weather has resulted in an abundance of accidents and traffic-related incidents.
“In January, our police district was inundated with weather issues,” said Colón. “Our guys are focusing more time on those details.”
He claimed that this winter season has produced many more weather-related incidents than in years past, primarily in the form of car accidents and disabled vehicles.
The weather has also created emergency response concerns for the township.
At the meeting, fire department officials turned out to request that residents assist them by uncovering fire hydrants.
“Please, for your sake and for ours, if you have a fire hydrant in the yard, dig it out,” said one fire department member.
Residents in turn questioned whether this could instead be done by the public works department, but the Upper Macungie supervisors felt that the public works department has been burdened enough by the salt shortage.
“I’d be embarrassed to ask [public works] to do any more,” said board chairman James Brunell.
The township’s salt supply shortage has created concern over their ability to adequately respond to any potential future storms.
“And it’s only February,” said Faust.