Information for Municipalities Regarding Salt Supply

The following was sent earlier as a joint memo from the Department of General Services, PennDOT, and PEMA:

The continuing bad weather has put unprecedented demands on sodium chloride (road salt) leading to a national shortage. Many deliveries have been unable to arrive timely due to frozen waterways, limiting salt from Canada. In the United States, suppliers are not able to mine, ship to stockpiles, and deliver to end users fast enough to meet the sheer volume of demand.

Please be assured the Commonwealth, under Governor Corbett’s direction, is doing everything it can to help supply your local municipalities with much needed salt in order to keep Pennsylvanians safe. Earlier this week, Governor Corbett granted a temporary waiver on certain restrictions for commercial delivery drivers. To view the press release, please visit:

Due to the ongoing demand, three of the Department of General Services’ contracted suppliers (American Rock Salt, International Salt Company, and North American Salt) have put the Commonwealth on an allocation system. COSTARS members have received 611,000 tons of salt to date out of a total of 871,000 tons. PennDOT has received 760,000 tons of the maximum 986,000 tons. An additional 250,000 tons of salt is on the way for PennDOT and COSTARS members. Inquiries into the availability of salt from other suppliers on contract to assist in covering these needs have not been fruitful.

PennDOT is working to help local municipalities, townships, and boroughs that are in dire need of salt. In order to keep interstate highways and other state roads safe, PennDOT must retain the majority of the salt in their position; they are, however, working with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to develop a prioritized list of requests from local governments to determ­­­­­­­ine how they can help. Please note that PennDOT’s and PTC’s capacity to assist local municipalities is not uniform across the state because the size of the storage facilities varies. To request assistance, please share the following process with your local governments


Local municipality identifies that they have a need and notifies their County Emergency Management Agency, who in turn notifies PEMA, as per the National Incident Management System protocol.

The following information must be discussed with the local municipality:

  • Municipality is first made fully aware salt is to be on loan, whereby repayment is necessary.
  • Municipality to answer the following to the best of their ability:
    • How much salt do they have on hand (tons)?
    • How many storms they can handle with current inventory?  How many more storms do they anticipate?
    • Do they have any salt on order?  Who is the supplier and how much is on order?
    • What is the expected date of delivery (supplier to municipality)?
    • How much salt do they need from PennDOT or the PA Turnpike (tons)?
    • How many trucks does the municipality have at their disposal to pick up the salt and timing?
    • Lastly, contact information – including location.

PEMA State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Logistics Section contacts PennDOT.

PennDOT and PA Turnpike staff evaluate this request and work with their District Offices.

  • District Offices determine if there is sufficient supply on hand to lend including at which stockpile the supply is located.

PennDOT returns information to PEMA with approval or non-approval.

PennDOT tracks all requests and responses for statewide analysis.

Pennsylvania is not alone. Surrounding states including New Jersey and New York have declared a state of emergency due to the lack of road salt. We are working to remedy the situation as quickly as possible and will keep you updated. We ask for your patience, cooperation, and assistance in this matter. Thank you.