Schenectady County

City of Schenectady gets salt in time for storm

The city finally got a 350-ton salt shipment this week, just in time for Friday’s storm.

The city finally got a 350-ton salt shipment this week, just in time for Friday’s storm.

But it’s already going fast, and city crews have switched to a mixture of salt and stone chip to stretch the limited supply, Commissioner of General Services Carl Olsen said.

The trouble is that this is the kind of storm that uses up a lot of salt. Snow was expected to fall for 20 hours, requiring city plows to spread salt repeatedly.

To keep the city from running out before the storm ends, workers treated the roads with salt before the snow, then switched to the mixture. They will go back to straight salt near the end of the storm if the roads get too slippery, Olsen said.

“We have enough to get us through this storm. I don’t have any to waste,” Olsen said. “Now we have to worry about the next storm.”

But first he’s going to enjoy the new snow.

“This is actually good for our winter carnival,” he said. “A couple inches is just what the doctor ordered.”

In preparation for today’s events at Central Park, his crews have built what may be the best sledding hill in the city, though Olsen won’t say whether he’s tried it.

They even built a luge run, he noted proudly. “You tube down that hill, it will be an experience like no other.”

Open tubing is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Racing goes from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on what the city has dubbed “Devil’s Hill.”

The city will provide tubes. Ice skates for children and adults will also be available at Iroquois Lake.

The carnival will begin at 11 a.m. at Central Park and Maple Ski Ridge, where the county will run activities.

Among the events at Central Park will be a chili contest, hay rides, snow sculpturing, winter softball, snow cricket and an ice bike race.

At Maple Ski Ridge, there will be a geocaching treasure hunt, snowball pitching contest, and several demonstrations including a winter base camp provided by Eastern Mountain Sports. Discount lift tickets and $10 lessons are available for skiing after 3 p.m., but skiers must register by this morning.

The complete schedule can be seen at

After a day to enjoy the snow, Olsen will go back to fighting it with all the salt he can muster.

He needs a minimum of 300 tons of salt to de-ice the city during a minor storm. A big storm can use up 1,200 tons.

Since spring is still distant, Olsen’s already asked for more salt. Cargill, the city’s supplier, is several orders behind, he said.

Cargill has not returned repeated calls for comment. Olsen said the company, which supplies many municipalities in the area, just doesn’t have the resources to keep up with all the salt orders this year.

“It’s been a very heavy usage year for salt,” Olsen said.

Categories: Schenectady County

Leave a Reply