Salt is expensive and can be really hard to find. During the 2014/2015 season, the average went from $38.30 to $46.80, causing municipalities to really use their budget on de-icing. Last year’s winter was brutal, and this one is expected to be even worse.
Winter road maintenance accounts for 20% of state department of transportation budgets nationally. These prices are skyrocketing because of supply being much lower than usual. Salt production was a 2.2 billion dollar in 2014 in which almost half (43%) of sales went to de-icing.
If you want to stock up on salt, you have to pay for 80% of the order in early fall, even if it isn't needed until late in the season. With salt producers being secretive about how supply and demand affects their prices, it raises cause for concern; no one knows exactly how it works.
While on the topic of concerns about salt, a lot of people ask if road salt harms the environment since we can see what it does to our cars…
Road Salt Effects
• On groundwater. Salt seeps into groundwater where it can reside for long periods of time, in turn affecting human, animal, and vegetation health. Contaminated wells have to be abandoned.
• On vegetation. Leaf damage and dieback is commonly observed along roads, but these effects can extend some distance away.
• On aquatic life. Salt in ponds and lakes create a salt water layer at the bottom, imprisoning nutrients away from aquatic plants and animals. In addition, elevated concentrations of salt in freshwater has detrimental effects on the growth, reproduction, and survival of a large range of invertebrates, fish, and amphibians.
• On mammals and birds. Drinking of salt water can lead to salt toxicity. Small birds confuse salt crystals with grit, and the ingestion of small amounts leads to acute toxicity and death.
Ultimately, human lives are saved by the use of road salt in winter. Research into safe alternatives to road salt is important: active research is ongoing with beet juice, cheese brine, and other agricultural byproducts.
Advice to municipalities using excessive amounts of salt is to invest early if you can afford it and have a backup plan or two, such as innovative plow blades; there are blades out there that have the same technology as tires or finding different products to use as an alternative. The up side of salt problems (if there ever could be one) is that everyone has to deal with these issues too, not just you.
Upcoming Trade Shows
July 16th – American Roads Show
July 19th-23rd – AASHTO Maintenance Meeting
Des Moines, Iowa
July 21st-22nd – KYTC Equipment Conference
August 2nd-3rd –Township Highway Commissioners of Illinois Summer Seminar
August 25th-27th – Indiana Street Commissioners Association
September 9th – Annual Snowplow Roadeo & Equipment Show
Green Bay, Wisconsin
September 10th-11th – West Slope APWA Snow & Ice Conference
September 15th-17th – Oregon Skills Demo & Safety Conference
September 15th –18th – Association of Town Superintendents of Highways Conference
Saratoga, New York
September 22nd-24th – WCHA-LDG Annual Road School
September 23rd- 25th – New England Public Works Expo
September 23rd-25th – Winter Maintenance Peer Exchange
September 24th – PA 811
September 29th – Snow & Ice Conference
We’re always looking to attend more trade shows! If you know of any that you think Winter Equipment would like to go to, let us know! Or if you would like more information on where Winter's booth is located at a show email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information.
As always, Winter Equipment Company prides itself on its charity work. While every year during the holidays, Winter participates in Santa’s Bikes for Kids, come summertime, it’s good ‘ol fashioned outdoor labor.
This year, Winter volunteered at the Mentor, Ohio Senior Care Center for The United Way Day of Caring. The day started at 7:30am with a welcome breakfast for the sponsors consisting of both Winter Equipment and Chase Bank. During the breakfast, a representative from each company spoke about the importance of giving back and how proud they are of the group of volunteers that came out to help.
Soon thereafter, groups of 4-6 people began to spread out to weed out the flower beds and trim the trees, bushes and shrubs across the property. As time went on, it was very clear that the feeling of helping out was showing on the faces of the men and women.
Shipping Manager Todd Davis said, “It was awesome! I really liked helping out the seniors and getting to spend some time out in the sun doing something good.”
There were no complaints from anyone, who were under the impression it was going to rain that day. The smiles were ear to ear across the board of the twenty-two Winter Equipment employees who volunteered.
Senior Engineer John Wahl said, “The ability to give back to the community I belong to is an enjoyable and rewarding experience.”
Lunch was provided by the Senior Center and was a big hit. Nothing seems to compare to home-style cooking.
Administrative assistant Lisa Sabol was excited about the day, “The MSC took such good care of us while we were there and the place looked awesome when we were done. And I think that helping others was a great team building experience. The United Way Day of Caring has a huge impact on our community, and I encourage everyone to be a part of it next year!”
Throughout the morning and afternoon, there was a lot of laughter and sunshine, all combined with 44 helping hands that won’t soon forget the experience.
Every year Winter Equipment attends dozens of trade shows to showcase our company’s products to attendees and catch up with our current customers. With the warmer months arriving, trade shows are heating up too.
Take a look at some of the shows we will be attending in the next few months and stop by our booth to say hi!
March 30th to April 2nd MT— MACRS
April 1st to April 2nd NY – Hard Hats Expo
April 7th WY— WYDOT Conference
April 8th NY – Western New York Equipment Show
April 12th to April 15th MI- APWA Snow Conference
April 19th to April 22nd PA – PSATS
April 21st to April 23rd ID—APWA Rocky Mountain
April 22nd to April 24th CO—Spring Street Conference
April 28th OH- Tuscarawas County Show
May 6th to May 8th IL—APWA IL Chapter Conference
May 7th PA – Somerset County Association of Township Officials
May 13th VT— Snowplow Roadeo
May 14th CT— CASHO
May 15th OH—Solon Snow & Ice Conference
May 19th to May 21st MI— Shanty Creek
May 21st to May 23rd KS –MID America
May 22nd NH—Road Agent Show
These are only a handful of shows Winter Equipment will be at this year. Check back soon for us to update you on all of our summer and fall shows.
" Inexpensive product lasting 5 years on a contractor's plow. Not only saving our curbs, but saving thousands of dollars on our blades. "
" Easy to maintain and adjust—we don't have to move boxes back to the garage. The longevity of the rubber is absolutely incredible. "