50,000 tons of rock salt arrives at Port of Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- 50,000 tons of salt arrived in Milwaukee on Wednesday morning, February 5th, and not a moment too soon! The shipment from Canada is a relief for communities that were running low on salt.

The salt was originally scheduled to arrive in the Port of Milwaukee on Tuesday, but icy waters slowed two ships. The first arrived overnight, while the second arrived Wednesday morning.

The second ship remained off-shore for a few hours on Wednesday.

"They traveled all night and the crew is taking a nap, so once they get to Port, they'll be fresh and ready to off-load the ship," Port Operations Manager Wayne Johnson said.

While the crew rested, dozens of trucks lined up to chip away at the mountain of salt left behind by the first 25,000-ton shipment.

"We usually have enough, but with the weather conditions this year, we've had to up the orders and we're glad we can get these in as we are right now," Johnson said.

The incoming salt is a relief for communities that are running low. Milwaukee, for instance, has been treating roads with a mix of salt and sand.

The shipment comes from Kansas-based "North American Salt," which has contracts with a number of area communities, including Greenfield.

"We will be taking our reserve this year. Our reserve is about 950 ton. Of that, they still owe us 300 ton from North American Salt," Greenfield Public Works Superintendent Dan Ewert said.

Ewert says Greenfield should have enough salt to survive the winter, but wants to play it safe since this has been a far from average winter.

"We were out 20 days out of 28 in January. That's a lot of time out, either on a salting event or a plowing event," Ewert said.

Even though Ewert believes he has enough salt, the price alone is reason enough to conserve wherever possible.

"With the state contract, it's like $56 a ton. It's always a good thing to miser to salt usage a little bit so you can make it through the complete season," Ewert said.

A North American Salt spokeswoman says Wednesday's delivery will serve all of the company's customers in Wisconsin and Illinois.

The salt comes from Goderich, Ontario -- home of the world's largest salt mine.