Towns have sand stockpiles
By Jay Braman Jr.
As local highway departments continue to work on repairing the damage left by last years flooding, and try to find ways to pay for it, there is at least one annual expense that is expected to be less in 2012, thanks to Mother Nature deciding not to blanket the Catskill with much snow last winter.
In Shandaken, the sand piles are still high from the fall of 2011, when Highway Superintendent Eric Hofmeister stocked up following the horrendous amount of snowfall the winter before.
But that supply, meant to keep miles of road safer than those navigated by Ice Road Truckers, went largely unused.
“We’re about full,” Hofmeister said.
The sand, which is laced with salt to prevent freezing, rests in a large shed, paid for by the City of New York. Called salt sheds, these popped up all over the Catskills once it was discovered back in the 1990s that the uncovered piles of the sand salt mixture would leach out water polluting levels of salt during rain.
In Middletown, Highway Superintendent John Biruk said that he’s got plenty of sand too because of the light winter, and plenty of salt.
“We usually use 800 tons of salt in a winter,” he said. “Last winter we only used about 375 tons.”
In the Town of Andes, Highway Superintendent Michael McAdams said that he only needs to restock a bit more sand/salt to get a full supply.
“I need another 2000 yards,” He said. “That’s about twenty percent of what we need.”
In Roxbury, Highway Superintendent Stephan Schuman, said he’s overflowing with the stuff.
“Our shed is chock full with the sand/salt mixture,” he said. “And I’ve got a lot of sand stockpiled outside of the shed too.”
Schuman said he beefed up his supply last year following the winter of 2009-2010, when snowfall quickly depleted his stock.
Schuman estimates that last winter was so light he saved about $40,000 on plowing costs.