Monday, February 7, 2011
The Hutchinson Salt Company sells more salt because of the winter storm. "Salt is what made Hutchinson," Hutchinson Salt Company Manager Myron Marcotte said. "It's been a good winter. If it doesn't snow, we're not going to sell salt."
The salt mined 650 feet below Hutchinson's surface is being sold to Midwest communities this winter to treat slickened roadways. Their salt is what is turned into brine and then used to pre-treat Wichita streets in advance of each winter blast.
Other municipalities use it in various mixtures of sand and salt. And, there have been enough storms this winter to keep the mine busy.
A few years ago some communities learned a tough lesson when the Midwest suffered prolonged ice storms. Local governments didn't have enough salt on hand. They typically only bought enough salt for the next storm. They got caught without. Wichita stores enough in large bins to weather such events.
Hutchinson built new storage this summer, even though the salt mine is located there. "The more storage you can have, the better off you will be in the long run if there is a prolonged weather event. We sent some to Tulsa, and maybe some to Oklahoma City last week," Marcotte said. "It is beautiful weather to us when it snows, because that's job security."