For the past three years Hingham’s Department of Public Works has been using salt, not sand, during winter weather treatment. The switch to salt was made after towns in Maine raved about its benefits. For one thing, salt ends up being cheaper because it is more effective. The DPW reports that since the switch to salt, they are being called out to retreat roadways much less. Salt, unlike sand, also does not linger on roads for weeks, eventually filling storm basins. That makes using salt less hazardous to drivers.
But anyone driving around Hingham can see the roads, and cars, look much whiter than normal after being treated. That’s because a new company is providing salt to the town this winter. This year’s salt, priced at $48.80/ton according to public records, is supplied by Eastern Minerals, Inc. A DPW employee tells me that their salt is in fact whiter, much to the chagrin of dark-colored vehicle owners.
The DPW says the benefits of salt treatment far outweigh any negatives. That’s why the state also started using salt several years ago.