City Of Frederick Getting Ready For Winter

The Board of Aldermen agreed to purchase rock salt.


Frederick, Md (KM) It’s yet another sign that winter is on its way; the Frederick Board of Aldermen on Thursday night approved the purchase of rock salt from Morton’s Salt. The contract totals $151,000.

Mike WInpigler, the Street Maintenance Superintendent for the city’s Department of Public Works, says the salt is used to clear the roads during snow and ice storms. “We have a couple of domes at DPW that house about 1200 tons,” he says. “We utilize roughly 20-vehicles to spread rock salt all over town, including city parking lots and other facilities.”

During the discussion, Winpigler was asked if the city had considered using liquid salt brine, like the State Highway Administration. He says the liquid is laid down prior to the snow event, and it keeps the snow from bonding to the roads, making it easier to clear off. “It;’s not a catch all and cure all,” said Winpigler. “Frederick County uses it as well, and we use it in small doses on hilly roads and bridges.”

The city purchases its rock salt through a State of Maryland contract at a cost of $56.44 per ton. Following a citizen’s concern about the impact of salt on the environment, Alderwoman Kelly Russell wondered if the state should consider other environmentally friendly chemicals for use on the streets. “There are definitely concerns about looking to different kinds of products that are safer for the environment. This is the same company that makes the salt you put on your food,” she said.

Russell noted a few years ago, SHA used beet juice to  bond with the roads  prior to a winter storm, but it attracted a lot of hungry animals. So that idea was dropped.

Like many municipal and county governments, the City of Frederick is purchasing rock salt in hopes that it will won’t need it as much during the winter. Mayor Michael O’Connor said he spoke with a meteorologist with the National Weather Service recently, who predicted dry conditions and higher than normal temperatures through the remainder of the year. In the first quarter of 2020, he says the meteorologist forecast normal precipitation with temperatures  a bit higher than usual. “So if all of those things together actually transpire, and the National Weather Service can predict the weather six months in advance, then maybe we won’t need as much of the material that we’re purchasing right now. But as we know, it only takes one,” he said.

“Hopefully you won’t get a lot of use out of this,” said Alderman Roger Wilson told Winpigler before a vote was taken on the contract.

“I hope I don’t have to place one order,”: Winpigler responded.


By Kevin McManus