Did You Know?: DPW Highlights Parks, Cemeteries, Recycling and Solid Waste Division

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Well, well, well. The Owl was surprised and delighted to see a new style of newsletter appear in her inbox yesterday–a town-written explanation about what the Department of Public Works does. Actually, it’s only a small part of what the DPW does–this is apparently going to be a series. Grab your morning coffee and be amazed at all they do–this time the Parks & Cemeteries and Recycling & Solid Waste Divisions under the supervision of Jackie Jackson.

Note that in general, the Owl makes it a habit to not comment on DPW because (a) she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, (b) they are always in “busy season” and (c) their communicataion can be…ahhh…acerbic, shall we say? Please do not leaf blow the dickens out of the sidewalks in revenge, DPW…truly I believe the division is amazingly responsive and hard-working.

On the other hand, the Owl will be unable to keep this write-up commentary-free. Like does anyone think that Cemeteries and Recycling/Solid Waste being in the same division a little funny? No? Okay, fine. Moving on…here’s the communication from Town Hall.

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The Weston Department of Public Works is a department that does not always get the recognition it deserves.  We appreciate the men and women the DPW that continuously work hard to get things done so the Town remains as beautiful as a scenic postcard. We would like to recognize the DPW every week by highlighting each division, and provide insight to what their jobs entail. National Public Works Week is May 21-27, 2023, however we wanted to showcase them now. This week will highlight the Parks & Cemeteries and Recycling & Solid Waste Divisions’ which are under the Supervision of Jackie Jackson. 

Staff

In the Parks & Cemeteries and Solid Waste & Recycling Division there is the Supervisor,  Heavy Equipment Operator, and two Chauff- Laborers. In the Solid Waste and Recycling Division there are three Disposal Area Operators.

Owl inevitable commentary: Okay, what is a “chauff-laborer?” I know what a chauffeur is and I know what a laborer is, but ??? Let’s away to google where we find the following document from 1968 when Boston, always at the forefront of well, some things, signed a state act to change “chauff-laborer” or skilled laborer to “departmental aide for motor pool” which it must be said does not fly off the tongue. Why does Weston still have the old title? Because, folks, we are still catching up–Boston was founded in what, 1630? Weston in 1713 so 83 years after 1968 is when we’ll institute that change. Oh math for breakfast. We have some three decades of slow change to go. Onwards:

Operational Duties (Current)

Operational Duties (current) – Parks and Cemeteries: include mowing, string trimming, leaf clean up, brush cutting, mulching, loam and seeding, weeding, watering, fertilizing, pruning, tree removal, and planting.

Daily operation and maintenance of the Cemeteries:

  • Linwood Cemetery – Approximately 50 acres with approximately 35 developed;
  • Central Cemetery – Approximately 3 acres
  • Farmers’ Burial Ground – Approximately 0.90 acres;
  • South Avenue Cemetery – Approximately 0.50 acres.

Daily Operation and maintenance of the Parks: [Ed: wow!!!!! we have a ton of parks!]

  • Parks – Island at Route 20 and BPR (west end);
  • Parks – Fiske House (corner of Linwood & BPR);
  • Parks – Fiske Park (between Fiske Lane and Concord Road);
  • Parks – Lamson Park;
  • Parks – Town Hall (around Town Hall);
  • Parks – Along the sidewalk around Town Green;
  • Parks – Water Can (adopted – weed kill in island); [Ed: what are we even talking about here? Watering trough? Water Tanks? ]
  • Parks – Park at the corner of School Street and BPR By-Pass Anniversary Park 
  • Parks – Park at the corner of BPR and BPR By-Pass (east end) Childrens Park
  • Parks – Scout House;
  • Parks – Case Park;
  • Parks – Library (WAIC);
  • Parks – DPW;
  • Parks – Police;
  • Parks – Fire Station HQ
  • Parks – Fire Station 2;
  • Parks – Town Center (grass strips, trees, Knox Park, Town Square, irrigation system, put out and clean park furniture)
  • Parks – Transfer Station (around the building)
  • Parks – Main Library
  • Parks – Pump Station
  • Parks – Trail Head across from Love Lane
  • Parks – Intersection of Newton St. and Rt30;
  • Parks – Coordinate planting of Arbor day trees and water
  • Parks – Ash St. and Rt 30 leaf clean up 1x a year

Daily Operation and maintenance of the Cemeteries:

  • Cemeteries – Open and close graves and cremations – Approximately 70 openings and closings each year
  • Cemeteries – Sale of graves
  • Cemeteries – Turf treatment and maintenance for 54.4 acres of cemeteries
  • Cemeteries – Field location of new burial sections of Linwood Cemetery
  • Cemeteries – Meet with individuals/families to discuss purchase of gravesites
  • Cemeteries – Coordinate with funeral directors for burial and gravesite services
  • Cemeteries – Spring and Fall cleanup of leaves and debris
  • Cemeteries – Remove unsightly material at burial sites [Ed. I’m afraid to ask]
  • Cemeteries – General cleanups annually (Memorial Day, Veterans Day);
  • Cemeteries – Gravesite and marker repairs
  • Cemeteries – Raise flat markers;
  • Cemeteries – Coordinate with vendors for turf and tree management and pest control;
  • Cemeteries – Participate in Snow & Ice Operations (Supervisor-Section Foreman & others operators) – both sanding and plowing operations
  • Cemeteries – Participate in repair of Water breaks.
  • Cemeteries – Pouring headstone foundations
  • Cemeteries — equipment repair and cleaning
  • Cemeteries – replace American flags at Veteran grave sites annually
  • Cemeteries – assist Solid Waste and Recycling division overseeing transfer station

Operational Duties (Current)- Solid Waste and Recycling

  • Check and monitor stickers and PAYT bags;
  • Monitor  activities at Transfer Station including providing guidance of where trash and recycling goes with customers.  Having a complete understanding of the rules and regulations concerning disposal of solid waste (what can be and cannot be dumped);
  • Sweep, pickup, etc. the common areas
  • Keep order in the swap shed
  • Assist customers, as needed, which may involve grabbing trash bags;
  • Litter patrols at the transfer station and beyond (T-parking lot and along Church Street);
  • Operate (push button) for compactors
  • Make necessary calls to Harvey (vendor) when compactors are full (typically Friday is when compactors are emptied
  • Bag the recycling and organize for pickup;
  • Transport electronics, as necessary, to the back trailer
  • Pickup solid waste (twice per week) and recycling (once per week) from Town Buildings and other areas(Conservation/Recreation):   DPW, Police Department, Fire Department- Station 1, Town Green, Town Hall, Ash Street (dog waste); Newton Street (MWRA dog waste); Fire Department – Station 2, Drabbington Way (dog waste), Schools (recycling), Town Center, Indian Hill (dog waste), Brook School Apartments (recycling)
  • Work at the brush dump several times throughout the year on weekends;
  • Wrassle the Rats [Ed: oh, just kidding, I added that one.]
  • Pest and Insect Controls – Contracted out
  • Cleaning bathrooms, office and other areas;
  • Mowing adjacent to solar array fencing.  Ameresco, solar array contractor, moves inside the fence, repair vents and turbines to landfill;
  • Participate in Snow & Ice Operations (Supervisor-Section Foreman & others operators) – both sanding and plowing operations
  • Participate in repair of Water breaks.
  • Calibration of weight scale
  • Manage Tipping Fee contract (current Wheelabrator out of Millbury);
  • Manage Transportation contract (current E.L. Harvey);
  • Manage various vendors for Recycling (scrap metal, electronics, propane tanks, deposits, paper, plastics, cardboard, etc.);
  • Have fabricated and purchase solid waste and recycling stickers;
  • Coordinate PAYT Program
  • Coordinate and take payments for Bulky Waste Program;
  • Coordinate Food Waste Program.
  • Compact metal containers to maximize loads
  • Paint bollards, recycling area, and solid waste hoppers
  • Assist Parks and Cemetery division preparing for Memorial Day Celebration
  • Manage and coordinate Household Hazardous Waste Day two events (new) per year
  • Coordinate brush grinding and composting at Merriam St
  • Assist truck drivers with removing solid waste and recycling containers
  • Apply for DEP Grants

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Wow! If you don’t say “wow” at the end of this list, then maybe you haven’t read it line by line. This is a crazy long list of stuff and you just have to be impressed. Also someone needs to tell me about this “Water Can” park. And you might now have noticed that the Beach and Bistro furniture downtown is back so if the weather would just cooperate, we could start hanging around in our outside offices and taking out our Weston Provisions sandwiches.

If you’d like to subscribe to town news about DPW, you can do that here. Or see it online here. But you’ll miss all the Owl commentary which is just sad. Stay tuned for the next in the DPW series which will be the Chucky Truck. Or not.

One comment

  • You always make every day brighter with your humor and quips. Thank you for putting a smile on my face this morning.

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