The run down

Features - L&L Snow and Ice Report

A snapshot of where the industry is at addressing its salt and deicing needs for the upcoming winter.

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October 8, 2015
Mike Zawacki

Salt has been a hot topic among snow and ice management professionals since the conclusion of the 2014-15 snow season.

Last winter's unprecedented tenacity for many regions of the snow industry – we're talking about you, New England – left many commercial snow and ice management professionals scrambling for available salt or counting their change to meet rising prices.

To better gauge how snow fighters are addressing the winter 2015-16 salt and deicing needs, our sister publication, Snow Magazine, in partnership with Arctic Sno Pushers, surveyed readers from throughout North America in late summer via the internet research portal SurveyMonkey. Here are some of the results to better benchmark the salt and deicing needs of your winter operations against.

 

Purchasing

“Where am I going to get my salt?”

It’s a common question heard around the industry when winter is at its worst.

According to respondents, contractors prefer to purchase both bagged and in bulk, typically from a supplier they’ve been using for some time. In fact, only 35% indicated they’ve changed suppliers recently.

However, contractors continue to hedge their bets on winter’s severity and are nearly evenly split as to how much salt they’ll secure before winter begins, with only 27% committing to the full amount.

And despite last season’s severity, more than half (52%) plan to purchase the same amount as last season, and nearly half (47%) expect to pay around the same price.

 

Deficiency

When the going gets tough, the tough purchase from multiple suppliers, at least when it comes to securing winter salt for the majority (67%) of respondents.

In addition to buying from multiple sources, respondents indicated they will also purchase salt from outside their home state (25%); network with other contractors to bulk purchase (23%); and even purchase from other contractors (22%).

 

Training

The majority of contractors conduct preseason training, but don’t have written safety standards regarding salt and deicing for crews to follow.