Rochester resident brings concerns about road salt to Select Board

Feb 21, 2024

ROCHESTER — At the Rochester Select Board’s Feb. 20 meeting, resident Therese Valente proposed that the town become a “low salt community”, referring to the amount of salt used on roadways during winter storms.

“We have a lot of agriculture, we have wells,” said Valente. “I’ve noticed the past three or four years that we have a lot of salt on the roads after the winter.”

Valente said the amount of salt can affect the quality of water in Rochester.

“There are safer alternatives that could be used,” she said.

“Currently we mix [the salt] with sand,” said Rochester Highway Surveyor Jeff Eldridge. “So we are already below what [other towns] around us use.

Salt is deposited once before and once after each snowstorm in Rochester, according to Eldredge.

Route 105 is treated as a state highway and is not salted by the town of Rochester.

“Could we look into calibration and see how much salt per mile we are putting down — maybe?” said Rochester Select Board member Adam Murphy.

Eldridge said the town previously used calcium chloride on the roads but it became too expensive. He added that the sand the town currently uses to mix with salt is also becoming harder to acquire.

Select Board chair Paul Ciaburri said the town has received more complaints from residents about not enough salt being used during winter storms.

“I’m trying to balance public safety and the environment,” said Eldridge. “I live in this town. I drink the water.”

“Your message is received. We will look into it and get back to you,” said Murphy to Valente.