City of Des Moines says new salt storage will save $250K a year

DES MOINES, Iowa -- This is the first winter for a new salt storage facility that's expected to save the city of Des Moines time and money.

"We had to truck the salt from a remote site in Grimes to get it our storage shed in Des Moines. Putting that storage on our property let us transfer that insurance policy of having a full winter's supply right in our backyard," says Des Moines Public Works Director Jonathan Gano.

He says the salt storage facility on East 22nd Street will cover its million-dollar construction cost in about about four years.

"That avoided about $250,000 dollars a year of trucking costs in sending drivers up to Grimes to haul the 10,000 tons we were storing there to restock our small shed throughout the winter," Gano says.

He says the new storage facility also lets the city buy, at one time, all the salt it needs for a season--about 15,000 tons.

"When you run out of salt is about when everyone else runs out of salt. If you run out in the middle of a hard winter, the price goes up dramatically. Having the ability to store the full year's supply lets us buy in the summertime when the price for salt is so much lower, and it's shipped when typically you have better weather," Gano says.

As for this winter, Gano says the city's used about half it's salt supply.

He says the city's benefitted from a few large snowfalls with big gaps of time between them, rather than lots of smaller storms that come closer together.

Gano says the city uses as much salt at the end of an eight-inch snowfall as it does with a two-inch snowfall.

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