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Winter weather taking toll on Fox Chapel area community salt supplies

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
O'Hara borough workers fill up salt behind the township police station on Squaw Run Road.

While winter continues to pound the Lower Valley with small but frequent snowfalls, municipalities are focusing on salt supplies and hoping to stave off a crisis.

“It's dwindling,” Indiana Township manager Dan Anderson said of the local supply.

He issued a notice this week to residents alerting them that the township is in conservation mode.

“We still have salt on hand, but I want to do what we can to keep it that way,” Anderson said.

He ordered the public-works department to use salt on hills, intersections and curves and to use judgment on flat areas.

“I'm asking everyone to understand a situation that is out of our control,” Anderson said.

With about 250 tons in storage, he doesn't expect the salt supply to last too long.

“We have 600 tons on order,” said Anderson, adding he already has used 700 more tons than the 1,900 anticipated this winter.

Indiana Township is not alone.

Aspinwall public-works chief Lee Albacker said he thought 500 tons would be enough for the community of one square mile to make it through to spring.

“We've gone through 700 tons already,” Albacker said.

The borough's storage shed off Freeport Road isn't empty. It still has about 150 tons.

“I usually like to keep that much on hand,” he said.

Albacker was expecting two loads this week to refresh his supply.

O'Hara manager Julie Jakubec said the township is holding its own, but like in Indiana Township, crews have dialed back the amount used for treatments.

“We're going mainly on intersections and curves while we deal with this supply issue,” she said.

Fox Chapel public-works chief Dempsey Bruce said the borough was in good shape heading into this week, and forecasts called for some milder temperatures that are expected to reach 52 by Friday before dropping back to the mid-40s by the weekend.

“If we kept getting hit with small storms, it wouldn't have lasted too long,” he said.

The forecast is good news for Anderson, who is looking at the spring-like temperatures as the saving grace.

“It will help extend the supply chain until we can catch up,” he said. “I want to caution everyone to be particularly careful when driving and know that we are keeping the streets as clear as possible.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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