Londonderry Select Board discusses salt storage options

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2016 Telegraph Publishing LLC

derry salt sand mtg.

The board hears from Duane Hart, town road foreman, far right. Clockwise from left, member Paul Gordon, town administrator Stephanie Thompson, chair Steve Prouty, and members Will Reed and Wayne Blanchard. Photos by Shawn Cunningham.

At a special meeting on Tuesday, June 28, the Londonderry Select Board weighed its options for both a location and a structure in which to store road salt when its agreement with the State of Vermont to use the salt storage shed on Derry Woods Road ends next year. Earlier this year, the state asked the town to remove its 2,300 yards of winter sand from the same facility.

Board chair Steve Prouty said that it would be necessary to build a shed within the next year. “We don’t have much choice,” said Prouty.  “We have one more winter of use (at the state facility) and the contract ends in May.” Prouty then opened the meeting, held at Town Offices, for discussion.

Board member Paul Gordon said he had reviewed the files from when the town looked at doing this between 1999 and 2002.  That work involved pricing a pole building and was relatively expensive, according to Gordon who has priced a Quonset hut style “span” building covered with a vinyl roof.  Gordon said he had a price of $40,000 for a 42 x 60 foot span building. That price includes installation, but not site work, concrete floors and walls and electricity, all of which were estimated at another $40,000.

old site plan salt sand

Site plan for a salt and sand shed on Prouty property proposed in 2002. Route 100 is at the top of the frame.

That early study envisioned using a spot near the rear of the Prouty property on Route 100 between Londonderry and South Londonderry and the board examined drawings that were made then.

With road foreman Duane Hart in attendance, the board discussed what size building would be required and whether it would be necessary to store a whole winter’s supply of approximately 1,000 tons or a portion of that. Hart said he would like to have at least “three storms” in reserve — about 200 tons. Board member Wayne Blanchard suggested that capacity for 500 tons would be more comfortable. “A bigger buffer would be better,”Hart agreed.

While sand is currently stored in front of the town garage on Old School Street, the  idea of having salt and sand in the same place so the town would only need one loader was also discussed, along with what grants could be available to offset some of the cost. The board reached a consensus that one building for both commodities was optimal and agreed that the 42-by 60-foot size priced by Gordon would be perfect for storing a year’s worth of salt and sand and that the loader could be stored in the sand area.

derry salt sand site visit

Londonderry board members and Prouty property abutters examine a 2002 site plan to discuss possible construction of a shed there.

Prouty property neighbors Gary and Barbara Butts attended the meeting to hear what was being planned. Prouty told the Buttses that what was being discussed was only in the very preliminary stage.

While lights and equipment operating at early hours of the morning were an issue, their main concern was that any leakage of salt into the groundwater could contaminate their well. “I don’t have a problem with it if you can show me how you seal it up to keep leakages out of my well,” said Gary Butts.

The board and guests moved the meeting to the Prouty property to identify where a shed had been proposed in the past.

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