Salt mountain to be better maintained: official

Steps are already in place to secure mountains of salt at the Red Hook container terminal, an official there vowed this week.

“We are committed to working with the community, to develop a program that both satisfies their needs and serves the safety critical mission for the city as a whole,” said Matt Yates, the director of commercial operations for American Stevedoring International, the container terminal along the waterfront.

Last April, wind carried salt from the salt pile to residents’ homes in the Columbia Street waterfront district, prompting an outcry and demands that future piles be better maintained. In December, the blog The Word on Columbia Street reported that the cover on the massive salt pile “has really come loose, as we’ve begun to receive reports of salt blowing in the wind and leaving a salty film on cars, windows, and everything else in its path.”

Yates chalked up April’s incident to the absence of the terminal’s regular cargo manager.He said the salt vessel, which came to Brooklyn by way of Chile, was discharged by a cargo manager from the company’s New Jersey facility without the normal enhanced procedures to mitigate blow-off.”

“Regrettably, procedures more appropriate to a less densely populated port district were used, and we apologize for any inconvenience or nuisance that this caused the community,” he said at the time.

The salt, which is imported from South America and Canada, makes roads less slick in wintery conditions.

Yates said that procedures have been initiated to secure the tarp covering the salt and prevent future dust-ups. Still, a meeting on the issue will be convened on Thursday, Feb. 11 to discuss the matter. The meeting will include representatives of the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association and American Stevedoring, and is co-sponsored by City Councilmembers Brad Lander and Steve Levin, Assemblymember Joan Millman and State Senator Daniel Squadron. The meeting will be held at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, 177 Columbia St., fifth floor, at 6 p.m.