Minnesota is short on salt this winter season

Local News

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — One of the most vital elements to fighting a snow-storm… salt is in short supply in Minnesota. Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield shows us how salt is an especially hot commodity this season.

On a Minnesota winter day, with scenes like this and roads like that… there’s only one condiment that comes to mind. O.J. Rinehart, founder of Northern Salt in St. Paul, showed WCCO his mounds of pink salt.

“This salt is almost like table salt, it looks so pure. It’s very pure. If you put that in a bag you could almost sell it as a food grade salt,” Rinehart said.

But this salt is less about taste and more about texture.

“Snow control, we’ll be applying salt to the UPS in Eagan we are looking to control how much ice and snow they have on the ground to make sure this trucks can keep running.”

He’s one of many drivers running loads out of Northern Salt in St. Paul.

“We try to give as much salt to our clients as we possibly can. So we are delivering, got a lot of trucks ready to make sure they are prepped and ready for the storms.”

But salt is scarce this season.

“Inventory in the state is low because there was river flooding, there’s been some mining issues with some mines not able to meet productivity levels that are required.”

Northern Salt uses a unique kind of organic pink salt, delivered from Canada right to their rail yard … its used by MNDOT and private companies, and this is the busy season for this team on a mission.

“We are doing something that’s giving back to the city and pretty much everybody else to stay safe,” Northern Salt worker Calvin Murray said.

“These guys are working hard today, they’ve going to fill up 40-50 pallets, but as busy as they are, they’ve been busy for a while with all the melts refreezes and you might remember the 14 inches of snow we got back in November…”

Northern Salt’s founder says their supply will endure this winter, as the rest of us try to, too.

Another reason the salt supply is tight this season.. is because last year we had more than 70 inches of snow. That means there was very little carry-over supply.

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