Salt shipment heralds onset of cold season

17 Oct 2018 7:44 AM | Smart About Salt (Administrator)

http://www.mininggazette.com/news/2018/10/salt-shipment-heralds-onset-of-cold-season

Photo provided by Mark Upton A ship carrying 13,000 tons of salt for distribution around the Copper Country this winter is seen heading around the bend Sunday toward the Mattila Rock & Dock in Hancock.

HANCOCK — In the Copper Country, early signs of winter include migratory birds, falling leaves and — the arrival of the salt boat.

Now that the salt has arrived, it will be trucked around to western Upper Peninsula municipalities and used on roads during the winter months. The trucking was set to begin Tuesday.

The next shipment is tentatively expected on Oct. 25, although dock owner Dave Mattila noted the current shipment’s anticipated arrival was changed multiple times.

The salt was delayed, he suspected, in part due to the strike earlier this year at the Goderich salt mine out of Ontario, Canada, where the salt is mined.

Salt will go to Iron, Alger, Baraga, Chippewa, Delta, Dickson, Gogebic and Houghton counties.

Of the total, 1,650 tons of road salt will go to the Houghton Road Commission. From there, the salt is mixed into the stamp sands used on the road.

The mixture ends up being between 3-5 percent salt, said Houghton County Engineer Kevin Harju.

The mixture is not only a cost-saving measure, because using straight salt can cause issues if not applied carefully.

“The ice and snow will melt and then refreeze, especially below 20 degrees,” Harju said.

With the commission usually hauling 10,500 cubic yards a year to supply itself and sell to nearby municipalities.

The sands are removed from a barrow pit and should last about three to five years before a new source is needed.

The sands have been tested and approved for use by the state Department of Environmental Quality.

“The stamp sand that we use have never been chemically treated,” Harju said. “The Department of Environmental Quality has checked it numerous times and not found any chemicals that could be hazardous to the residents by any means.”

The angular nature of stamp sands makes it work particularly well for traction on roads, he said.


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