The Department of Public Works (DPW) purchases salt via a state contract. Salt is stored in the salt shed at the DPW Yard at 301 Broad Street. DPW requests that deliveries be made between 7:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. to reduce the need for overtime except in case of emergency. Depending on road conditions, DPW purchases about 7,000 cubic yards of salt per year.
In recent years, the DPW has made a significant effort to reduce the amount of sand used for snow and ice operations and has transitioned to salt only for certain portions of the City that have less hilly terrain. This has reduced the amount of street sweeping and catch basin cleaning needed during the following spring season. In hilly areas, a salt-sand mixture is used. Sand and salt are typically mixed at a ratio of 3 loads of sand to 1 load of salt unless otherwise directed by the Superintendent of Streets.
The DPW no longer mines and screens sand at the “Airport Pit” on Crawford Street in Fitchburg. Sand is purchased from a vendor and delivered to the DPW Yard for storage. Depending on road conditions, DPW uses approximately 35,000 cubic yards of sand per year.
The DPW does not have the equipment necessary to apply liquid de-icing chemicals, but is actively investigating funding opportunities to purchase some. Liquid de-icing chemicals are especially useful for pretreating roadways.