|Hanover Tp salt supply on January 29|
"Bushkill Township is a mess," remarked Council President Peg Ferraro. "I can verify that." So can everyone living in the Nazareth Area School District. All their schools had to be closed because of the icy roads in Bushkill Township.
Council member Scott Parsons complained that PennDOT, which has a salt supply located just a quarter mile from Pen Argyl Borough Public Works, has refused to share its supply. "The cooperation seems to be lacking," he observed.
This road salt shortage was first reported on this blog last week, nearly a week ahead of the daily newspapers. At that time, Hanover Township had enough road salt for just one pass. Other townships reported similar problems. Winter storms have increased demand. But International Salt, which supplies most Lehigh Valley municipalities, was temporarily closed down as the result of a workplace fatality.
Municipalities muddled through the first snowstorm last week (Feb 3). But right before the second storm (Feb 5), three Northampton County municipalities - Hanover Township, West Easton Borough and Pen Argyl Borough - advised EMS they had run out of salt. Hanover Township declared a state of emergency on February 6, looking for state assistance.
Eleven other municipalities have since followed suit.
These disaster declarations authorize municipal officials to act as necessary to meet the demands of the current situation. They can hire temporary workers, rent equipment and purchase supplies without having to follow procedures established by law.
Director of Emergency Management Services Robert Mateff stated, “Emergency Management officials will continue to advocate vigorously to the State on behalf of municipal needs.”
On Friday, February 7, Mateff made direct contact with International Salt, major supplier to municipalities in the Lehigh Valley. In conjunction with EMS, International is prioritizing deliveries to municipalities with little or no salt. Bushkill Township received an emergency shipment of 100 tons of salt.
He also confirmed that PennDOT has not been sharing its salt supply.
Updated 2/7/14, 2:03 PM, based on additional information received.