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The Strange Case of the Missing Sidewalk Salt

Snowy Yard
Photo by Justin Louis

Have you tried finding sidewalk salt in Ocean County recently? If your experience has been anything like mine, it’s been an exercise in futility.

Suffice to say, this winter has been active weather-wise so far. When storms roll around, there’s usually a run on snow blowers and shovels, but I’ve never had this much of a problem finding ice melt for my sidewalk.

And I’ve tried everywhere – from home improvement superstores to mega-chain box stores and even local grocery stores. I’ve gotten the same story everywhere – empty shelves and apologetic associates saying that they sold out weeks ago.

I even went to a pet store, on the advice of my neighbors, and they did have pet-friendly ice melt…for $28 for a small kitty litter sized container. Sorry, but I’ll use Morton’s table salt before I pony up almost $30 for an Arizona Iced Tea sized container that would probably last a storm and a half.

So what’s the deal?

Well, according to officials it’s a pretty simple explanation – there’s a huge salt shortage.

In fact, some areas throughout the country have gotten creative, using everything from beet juice to beer making byproducts, and even “cheese brine” (which I hope is long washed away by summer, because that can not smell great when the sun cooks it for a while).

Have you had trouble rustling up ice melt this winter? If you know of a place that has some in supply, let us know!

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