Frequently Asked Questions By Private Contractors about Sand-Salt Piles

Prepared by the Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation

Q:  I'm thinking of keeping mixed sand/salt at my business.  What do I need to know before starting a sand/salt storage area?

A: All sand/salt storage areas must be (1) registered with the Department of Environmental Protection and (2) comply with Chapter 574, "Siting and Operation of Road Salt and Sand-Salt Storage Areas."  For more information, please visit What To Know Before Starting A Sand/Salt Storage Area.

Q: What does this project priority number mean to me as a private contractor?

A: If you own and/or operate a sand/salt pile with a project priority number of 1, 2 or 3, then you are obligated under state law to construct a storage facility by October 1, 2003 (36 months from the date on which your priority number is designated).

If you own and/or operate a sand/salt pile with a project priority number of 4 or 5, you must comply with siting and operation rules adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Q: I plan to move my sand/salt pile from its current location next year. What do I need to do?

A: Any move to a new site is treated the same as establishing a new sand/salt pile.  Any owner/operator moving their sand/salt pile to a new location must (a) register the new site with the DEP and (b) comply with siting and operational rules adopted by the Department. The DEP also strongly recommends that you contact the Department for an on-site evaluation of the new location prior to the move.

Q: Why might I be required to build a facility and when the nearby DOT or town sand/salt pile remains uncovered?

A: The DEP makes no distinction in who owns or operates a sand/salt pile when it relates to building requirements. Municipalities, counties, state entities and private contractors were all evaluated using the same criteria and project priority numbers were assigned without distinction to ownership. The DOT or municipal sand/salt pile may have a lower project priority number or may still be required to construct a sand/salt storage facility but under different construction deadlines.

Q: There are several contractors in my town that operate sand/salt piles.  How do I find out if these contractors’ piles are registered and what their project priority numbers are?

A: Contact the DEP at (207) 592-2068 or by e-mail at erich.kluck@maine.gov information about sand/salt piles registered in your town. If you know of contractors who are operating unregistered sand/salt piles, please call the DEP with their name and mailing address or telephone number.

Q: How do I know what is the best or most typical building design and how much a storage facility costs to construct?

A: Call the DOT’s Community Services Division at (207) 624-3270 or visit their web site.. The DOT has over ten years worth of data on all types and sizes of municipal sand/salt storage buildings and can provide a lot of useful information to private contractors as well.

Q:   I store just sand at my place of business.  Do sand piles need to be registered under the program?

A:  No, piles composed solely of sand do not need to be registered under this program. 

Q:  Is there an exemption for small sand/salt piles?

A:  Yes, Chapter 574, "Siting and Operation of Road Salt and Sand-Salt Storage Areas" exempts sand/salt piles which are less than 100 cubic yards in size from registration, siting and operational requirements.  Please be aware, however, that any contamination of ground or surface water is still a violation under 38 M.R.S.A. Section 413 and enforcement action may be initiated by the Department should a violation occur.