Q. What type of salt is used during the winter months?

A. The grounds department is constantly testing new products to find what works. Currently we use a specific type of salt that is coated with molasses. This special salt has many advantages:

  • It’s economical; we can see where we put it, so we use less, and the molasses makes it less corrosive
  • It doesn’t scatter and tracks very little
  • It stays put, so it’s more effective
  • It “brines” longer, which means a longer shelf life
  • It works at lower temperatures
  • De-icing compounds are only effective down to single-digit temperatures and only if the sun is out to warm the surface somewhat

Q. Do you have any tips for HWS faculty, staff and students with cars to help make the winter months safer and easier?

  • Slow down
  • Put snow tires on your car
  • Have ice scrapers and brushes handy
  • Keep extra gloves and a small shovel in your car
  • Wear proper footwear
  • Respect the "No Parking Snow Removal" signs

Again, we’re all in this together. The snow and cold are inconvenient for everyone, and we are all doing our best to cope with them. Patience nd cooperation are key. Remember that these are real people working long hours and fatigue does play a part in our removal effects.

Q. Why hasn’t my work order been processed?

A. Most likely it’s because we have every available person out clearing snow. We get to work orders in as timely a fashion as our workload and manpower permit.

Q. You plowed me in. Now can you shovel me out?

A. In many of the parking lots on campus there is no place for us to put the snow, so all we can do is “make a pass” with our plow, which may leave a ridge that has a “plowed in” effect on cars. It is certainly not intentional. Unfortunately, we cannot be responsible for shoveling the ridges from around everyone’s car. That’s why we recommend having a snow shovel in your vehicle. As time permits we come back in and bucket out the excess snow.

Q. Why do you use trucks to clear the sidewalks?

A. Our out-front mowers double in the winter as snow plows. These machines fit on the walks and do most of the plowing. However, they cannot handle deep drifts. When the wind blows excessively and large amounts of snow accumulate rapidly, the trucks are our best option for quick and effective clearing of the walks. We have recently purchased a snowblower to attach to our machines to aid in this process.


  • There are almost nine miles of walkways on campus. That’s 285,000 square feet!
  • There are more than 14 acres of parking lots. That’s 609,840 square feet!
  • There are more than 200 main entrances, 200 emergency entrances, 30 driveways, nine major stairways and more than 100 buildings that require snow removal.
  • From Medbery Parking lot alone, 180 cubic yards of snow is removed after each snowfall!
  • Complete removal across campus can take up to five hours to clear after only 2 to 4 inches of snowfall.
  • With lacrosse practices beginning in late January, snow removal from the synthetic turf on McCooey Field is important, and can be a day’s worth of work.
  • The harder the snowfall, the harder the dedicated staff of 12 groundspeople and five to 10 tradespeople work to keep all areas of the campus clear. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Remember, during a large storm, we’re all in it together!

To report an on-campus snow emergency, please call ext. 3660.