City councilman Winburn believes taxpayers' money was wasted on hidden stockpiles of salt

CINCINNATI -- A member of the Cincinnati City Council prompted an investigation into the amount of salt used from the city's stockpile, environmental contamination and a waste of taxpayer money.

Charlie Winburn believes the Department of Public Services has stored too much salt at the stockpile site. He said about 2,000 tons of salt has been kept outdoors at 3274 Beekman Sreet, uncovered for more than a year.

The consequence, according to Winburn, is that thousands of taxpayer dollars have been wasted because too much salt was purchased by the Department of Public Services. He also feels water, ground and environmental resources have been threatened by keeping the salt out in the open.

Winburn called on Acting City Manager Scott Stiles Monday to begin the investigation, which would look into possible government waste, along with possible environment contamination caused by the unkept salt.

"The city's Department of Public Services may have failed to follow proper Ohio Water Resource Council and Environmental Protection Agency guidelines issued in 2012 that clearly outline proper storage of stockpiled road salt outdoors," he said.

Winburn said he wants answers from the Director of Public Services, Michael Robinson.

According to city records released by Chief of Staff Edith Thrower, 8,988 tons of salt was bought for $553,282 from 2011-2012, plus 31,000 tons of salt more for $1,909,099.

The wasted salt, Winburn said, could have been sold to other municipalities and townships, which would have freed up money paid by taxpayers. While salt lingers in the stockpile, Winburn believes the Department of Public Services ignored possible hazards that can come from stockpiling road salt for a year or longer.

Winburn asked the Environmental Protection Agency to determine if in fact, the salt left outdoors has contaminated ground water resources in the area. While investigation is carried out, Winburn has asked that Stiles make sure the salt is kept at the stockpile.


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