Salt precious as winter goes on

By Matt Porter
By Amy Khuu

February 6, 2014 Updated Feb 6, 2014 at 8:13 PM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) After a storm brought a foot of snow to most of Greater Binghamton, bags of salt feel as if they're worth their weight in gold.

Joe Kovarik, Jr., owner of Kovarik Hardware in Binghamton, said salt has been one of his top sellers since December.

"Because of the snow that we've gotten in quick times," Kovarik said, "We've definitely been busier."

Rock salt has been a precious commodity for all municipalities and residents, New York City asked for help from upstate supplies this week.

Broome County sent 700 tons downstate. Delaware County sent 300 tons, totally 1,000 tons that came from from Region 9.

Kovarik said the winter has surprised even those who are most prepared.

"A lot of people buy preseason," he said. "But because we have had so much snow and ice, people have ran out of their supplies."

At the Cargill salt mine facility in Lansing, mine workers have been working non-stop.

"We're working overtime to keep up with the demand caused by the unprecedented winter through the snow belt," said Cargill spokesman Mike Klein.

Klein said it's not the big storms doing the damage.

"We've had a lot of smaller snows, and those are actually the ones that require the use of road salt," Klein said. "Those deep snows are basically plowing events."

With Wednesday's heavy snow, Kovarik said people need to watch their roofs.

He demonstrated using a "roof rake" plow to pull the first five feet of snow off a roof.

"Snow is all water," Kovarik said, "Water is 8.6 pounds per gallon, so do the math. It's heavy."

Despite the demand, Kovarik's confident his store has plenty of salt.

"We're ready for the end of the season," Kovarik said, "But we're well prepared."

The first day of spring is March 20.

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