NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

NECC maintenance prepares for winter

By Rachael Sarcione

It may seem as though fall has just begun but the Maintenance Department at NECCs Haverhill campus has already begun preparing for winter.

Keeping the NECC campus safe for students, faculty and staff is a year-round job that requires careful planning and considerations for the surrounding area.

 Steve Shepard has spent many hours clearing low-hanging tree branches that would eventually become covered with heavy snow and ice. 

Meanwhile, his co-workers are getting the leaf-blowers and shovels lined up.

“Once we get the leaves sorted out, it’s full march ahead for winter. It’s definitely a team effort,” said Shepard.

There is one detail about ice removal at NECC that is different than in other areas of Haverhill. The signs on Kenoza Street that say “Salt Restricted Area.”

 Due to its close proximity to Kenoza Lake, the Haverhill campus is considered a salt restricted area which prohibits the use of rock salt for the purpose of melting ice.

Rock salt contains small bits of  gravel, which is extremely hard and can become lodged in the paws of animals.

Besides the wildlife which inhabit the wooded area that surrounds it, Kenoza Lake is home to many species of fish. It is also the source of Haverhill’s drinking water. The chemistry of the lake would become dangerously altered by allowing the use of rock salt on roads and walkways nearby.

 “I love going fishing there,” said Ashley Jacobson of Newburyport. “I’m glad NECC is doing their part to protect the environment.” Jacobson, 29, is an architect who frequently works in Essex County. 

She is familiar with salt restricted areas and usually advises homeowners to use animal-safe products for melting ice on their property.

Robert Donna, a Home Depot associate is already stocking the shelves with alternative products for melting ice and is ready to educate his customers on the importance of choosing a product that is safe for the environment and pets.

“Ice-Melt is the most popular one and we almost ran out completely last winter. Had to get some shipped down from Maine,” said Donna.

Ice-Melt is a non-salt product containing Calcium Chloride and is engineered to generate heat.

The NECC maintenance crew has a lot of experience with Ice-Melt and is prepared to keep plenty of it within reach this winter. And by the way it sounds, we are in store for a messy one.

“We’ll be clearing snow at 4 a.m. if we need to,” said Shepard.

Maintenance will do what it takes to keep us all safe this winter.

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