Frequently Asked Questions By Municipalities and Counties about Sand-Salt Piles
Prepared by the Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation
- What does a project priority number mean for my town?
- If the town received a project priority number of 1, 2 or 3, then the town was required to construct a municipal sand-salt storage building or move the site. If the town received a project priority number of 4 or 5, the town is no longer eligible for funds for the construction of a municipal sand-salt storage facility and is no longer obligated under state law to build such a building provided the sand-salt pile remains at that site. However, the town is still responsible for "good housekeeping" at the site.
- How do we know what is the best or most typical building design and how much a facility costs to construct?
- Call the DOT's Community Services Division at 207-624-3270 or visit their web site. The DOT has years of data on all types and sizes of municipal sand-salt storage buildings and can provide a lot of useful information.
- Our town is going to build its new sand-salt building on a different site than where our current pile is located. Can we do this?
- Contact the DEP for site approval for all new salt storage areas. A town may build a sand-salt building on the same contiguous property on which the sand-salt pile now sits without further restriction or DEP approval. For all other new locations, the site must meet criteria in DEP rules. In general, a new sand-salt storage building should not (a) overlie a significant sand and gravel aquifer; (b) be within 300 feet of a private well; or (c) lie within a source water protection area for a public water supply. If in doubt, contact the DEP for a site visit and approval before engaging an engineering firm to begin design work.
One other note -- Once the building is finished, DEP does not consider the project complete until all remnants of the existing sand-salt pile are moved to the building and the area on which the pile used to sit is brought back to grade.
- Our town sand-salt pile was ranked a Priority 4 (or 5) pile and we don't plan to move it to a new location in the foreseeable future. Does the town need to do anything special?
- No. The town was not obligated to construct a sand-salt storage building. As long as the sand-salt pile remains at its current site, the sand-salt pile and site is exempt from ground water classification laws. However, both the DEP and the DOT recommend that the town take measures to minimize the impact of the sand-salt pile, as the town is not exempt from civil litigation regarding property damage or salt-contaminated drinking water wells.
- Our town is being asked to move or is voluntarily moving its sand-salt pile from its current location. What does the town need to do?
- After October 1999, any municipality moving its sand-salt pile to a new location must (a) register the new site with the DEP and (b) comply with DEP rule, Siting and Operation of Road Salt and Sand-Salt Storage Areas, 06-096 C.M.R. ch. 574 (effective date December 3, 2001). The DEP also strongly recommends that the town contact the Department for an on-site evaluation of the new location prior to the move. To schedule a site evaluation, call 207-592-2068 or e-mail Enid Mitnik.
- Why might the town be required to follow the rule when the nearby DOT sand-salt pile remains uncovered?
- Municipalities, counties, state entities and private contractors were all evaluated using the same criteria. The previous priority numbers were assigned without distinction to ownership. For two or more sand-salt piles in a town, the project priority numbers may be different depending on their location. The DEP no longer prioritizes salt storage facilities.
- There are several contractors in our town that operate sand-salt piles. How does the town find out if these contractors' piles are registered?
- Contact the DEP at 207-592-2068 or e-mail Enid Mitnik for information about sand-salt piles registered in your town. If you know of contractors who are operating unregistered sand-salt piles, please call the DEP with their name and mailing address or telephone number.
- Our town has a sand-salt building or pile, and we keep the area secure to prevent theft. Can we put a small pile for town residents outside the gate?
- Yes, as long as the pile for residents: (a) is on the same contiguous site as the sand-salt building or pile; (b) controls are used to minimize movement of salt and prevent pile "sprawl" (such as cement blocks, Jersey barriers, etc.); and (c) the pile contains no more than one truckload of mixed material at a time. The DEP prefers that such "Residents Only" piles also be kept on an impervious surface, if possible, and removed to the main pile or building at the end of the winter season.
- Can we store unmixed sand outside our sand-salt storage building?
- Yes, unmixed sand may be stored outside a building. Salt or mixed sand-salt may not be stored outside a storage building without re-registering the site and complying with all other DEP requirements regarding outside storage of salt and sand-salt piles.