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Ohio targets road salt runoff with new grants

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(The Center Square) – More than 30 Ohio municipalities will share in nearly $2 million in taxpayer funds in the state’s first effort to reduce the amount of salt used on the roads during the winter.

State officials hope the new program will reduce runoff into streams, rivers and lakes.

“Reducing the amount of road salt runoff into our water supply is important,” Gov. Mike DeWine said. “That’s why we are putting H2Ohio dollars into the hands of governments and municipalities so they can have better equipment and storage for road salt management so there is less runoff and more protection for our rivers and waterways.”

The program was announced in December as part of the state’s ongoing H2Ohio water program. It began with $1 million but grew to $1.7 million because of high demand.

More than $1.12 million will go to 22 local governments to upgrade salt equipment. Another $569,000 is expected to help nine municipalities pay for upgrades or build new salt storage and loading areas.

“The response from Ohio communities to this new grant opportunity has been exciting,” Ohio EPA Director Anne Vogel said. “We received more than 260 applications seeking more than $14 million in funding. We appreciate Governor DeWine’s willingness to dedicate H2Ohio funding to efforts designed to reduce salt runoff into our waterways, and we are committed to evaluating and funding the most effective practices.”

On average, the Ohio Department of Transportation alone uses 600,000 tons of salt a year and spends an average of $56 million annually on snow and ice operations. That does not account for winter road operations in counties, cities and townships across the state.

Equipment grants are going to county or municipal governments in Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Erie, Franklin, Hamilton, Huron, Jefferson, Lake, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Marion, Montgomery, Morgan, Portage, Richland, Shelby, Summit and Tuscarawas counties.

Facility grants are going to projects in Champaign, Columbiana, Huron, Jefferson, Lawrence, Madison, Ross, Williams and Wood counties.

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