Salt Shortage Hits Washington County

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A salt shortage across the upper Midwest has the operations director of Washington County Public Works hoping our frigid weather is over.

During a regular winter, Doug Johnson’s department budgets for 10,000 tons of salt, with an additional 2,000 tons on reserve.

He’s now down to 1,400 tons, but he’s optimistic it will last.

“That should last us the winter now, but only because I got some late deliveries,” Johnson said. “It’s just been an awful, long winter.”

The valuable mineral is being stored behind the county’s public works building in a giant warehouse near Stillwater.

With dwindling salt supplies, companies are now selling it at $150 – $200 a ton.

“If you can find it,” Johnson said.

A few weeks ago, things got real low and Johnson began mixing salt and sand together to make his stockpile last longer.

What has really impacted salt supplies for road crews were the record cold temperatures in January and February.

So far this March, Mother Nature is on their side.

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