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Malloy Declares Salt Emergency As Supplies Dwindle Across Connecticut

The roads in Danbury look covered in as much sand as snow as a city plow clears during the nor'easter. Photo Credit: Karen Tensa
Snow-clearing crews across Connecticut and the rest of the Northeast have had to prepare roads for snow more frequently this year than in recent years past. Photo Credit: File

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – With state road crews left with only enough salt for one storm, Gov. Dannel Malloy plans to declare a state of emergency to get federal help in bringing more road salt to Connecticut as towns and cities continue to deal with the mounting winter snowstorms.

Road salt supplies are running low in municipalities across Connecticut—and across the country—because of the unusually high number of snowstorms this winter. Thursday’s blizzard marked the 12th snowfall in Connecticut this winter. The state Department of Transportation is down to about 15 tons of salt, enough for its own work for just one more storm. 

Many Connecticut towns and cities have reported using more salt than anticipated and seeing delays in restocking.

“The town continues to receive salt deliveries; however, at a much slower pace than normal,” Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi said before the storm. “We will continue to salt and plow the roads during the coming storm. However, our limited salt supply will affect how much salt we can use on each road.”

Connecticut is not the only state facing shortages. Similar problems have been reported in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois as well as in the Deep South, Malloy said. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also declared states of emergency Thursday.

“With winter storms impacting many parts of the country, some of which don't typically see this type of weather, salt supplies are being stretched throughout the entire eastern portion of the U.S.," Malloy said.

Lori Roman, president of the Salt Institute, a nationwide trade organization representing salt suppliers, said the issue was not a “salt shortage,” but rather that so many towns and states are running low at the same time due to the unusually snowy winter. “Salt is in abundant supply,” Roman said earlier this week.

“While many agencies try to have enough salt on hand in the fall to get them through an entire winter, recent weather is forcing many to order again mid-season which is not an ideal situation as there is a lead time for delivery,” Roman added.

Malloy has asked all towns for an update on their current salt supplies and how much they typically use for each storm.

The governor hopes the federal government can arrange to bring salt to Connecticut from out of state, which the state can then distribute to towns that need it. Otherwise, towns may have to switch to sand to add traction to roads.

"I want to stress that this request is to address the issue of salt supplies for the remainder of this winter season as there surely will be additional snow and ice events this year,” Malloy said.

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