Plow drivers learn salt goes a long way
Ron Blondeau, foreman for Amoskeag Maintenance, uses one of the their17 trucks as he plows Walgreens in Hooksett, on Saturday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
Last spring, a bill establishing a program was held over by a House committee, saying it needed more work. Senate budget writers drafted language creating the program and added it to House Bill 2, which accompanies the biennial state budget. When Gov. Maggie Hassan signed the budget last summer, the salt applicator certification program was born.
"The idea behind the bill was if we get more people trained, we can achieve more efficient salt use, so we're not wasting any salt," said Eric Williams, supervisor of the Watershed Assistance Section at the Department of Environmental Services.
At a cost of $60 a person - which covers the instruction, materials and lunch - class attendees learn about the environmental effects of chlorides, proper material storage and new winter maintenance techniques, and they leave with an "increased ability to determine how much salt is needed for any given parking lot or private road," according to a flier advertising the workshop.
Sheppard said Manchester is taking additional steps to cut back on the use of road salt this year. The department is using a salt brine mixture - a solution of water and salt with a freezing point of 0 degrees Fahrenheit - which can be applied up to three days before a storm and sticks to the roads.
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