Public works department masters the art of multitasking

One department employee spends every day, spring through fall, tending the landscape at the township’s five parks and two open-space parks. This rain garden was built and planted with Chester Ridley Crum Watershed Association. During summer, and the busy leaf season, the township hires part-time help with its parks and blacktop repairs.

For about $750, Assistant Public Works Director, Frank Freeman, devised two brine applicators (100- and 700-gallon capacity) that can be mounted on a pick-up truck and sewer machine (shown here). It would have cost the township thousands of dollars to buy the equipment.

The department’s fleet manager works three days a week, and is responsible for nine highway and eight police department vehicles. It takes two months to prepare seven leaf machines. A leaf machine is shown here, at the township’s yard waste drop-off and free compost pick-up area.

With everything the department does, one might think its facility would be the size of a small town. Actually, says Public Works Director, Darryl Dixon, it’s smaller than most people think. “We try to be efficient with our space and operations by placing everything strategically within a series of bays,” he says. “Residents can still come in and out safely.”

Nether Providence Township occasionally contracts out major jobs, such as deep sewer work (more than 6 feet deep) or replacing an entire sewer main. The township’s highway crew performs its own asphalt repairs with an annual budget of $100,000, but will hire a contractor for a large resurfacing project.

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