Today’s news:

Pardon our salt mountain

Blame New Jersey for Red Hook’s salty dust−up.

Last week, wind carried salt from a mountainous pile at the Red Hook Marine Terminal to residents’ homes in the waterfront district, prompting an outcry and demands that future piles will be better maintained.

“Unfortunately, our regular cargo manager was out, and was covered by the cargo manager from our New Jersey facility,” said Matt Yates, the director of commercial operations for American Stevedoring International, the container terminal along the waterfront. He said the salt vessel, which came to Brooklyn by way of Chile, was “discharged 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 added.

At press time, the salt was being processed for covered storage for use by the city. The salt is the same material spread by the Department of Sanitation when it snows or roadways are icy.

Brian McCormick, a board member of the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association, said his home is covered with a fine dusting of salt. He said myriad questions remain, including the material’s impact on human health and property. “We don’t know if it’s hazardous or not,” he said. “What effect will this have on electronics?”

He said he plans to get a sample of the stuff and have it analyzed. “People have been breathing this in since last Thursday,” he added.

“You are putting a pile of salt as tall as the buildings across the street. At best, it’s a lack of awareness — at worst, it’s stupidity.”

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