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Even after difficult winter, rock salt supplies are OK

Gino Geruntino
Oswego's DPW started the winter season well stocked with rock salt.

It's been a tough winter so far this season, even for the hardiest of upstate New Yorkers. But what do all these snowy days and icy conditions mean for the area's rock salt supplies?

"We were fortunate to have a fairly good supply at the beginning of the season and we are still OK," says Oswego Department of Public Works Commissioner Michael Smith. "If winter lasts at a normal length or if we can say maybe through the next month we'll be out of the worst of it, we'll be OK with our salt and sand mix."

Credit Gino Geruntino / WRVO
A view of Oswego's DPW. Commissioner Michael Smith says workers are putting in plenty of overtime to keep roads clear.

And although there's a slim chance of it happening, Smith says salt supplies could be impacted if the right conditions develop.

"I think we'd have to be in some kind of emergency snowfall situation, and I don't think that's on the horizon right now," Smith explained. "If we just continue to have winter for the next few weeks, then we'll be alright."

Smith says the constant barrage of snowfalls has put a strain on his department's staff and overtime costs, which were already spread thin because of the city of Oswego's tight budget this year. He says his workers are putting in plenty of extra hours to keep the roads clear.

Smith says his concerns are shared by other commissioners throughout upstate New York, where some DPW offices aren't just dealing with slick roads and overtime costs, but also the threat of ice jams, which have forced closures to portions of I-81 and put communities on guard already this year.