Let’s be honest: we often take for granted that, once a week, a truck comes by and all of the refuse we’ve produced over the past seven days disappears. But solid waste collection is just one of the services provided by the Brick Township Public Works Department. Many of the services the men and women of the department provide go unnoticed, but are essential to keeping the township functioning as it should.
Here are a few interest tidbits about Brick’s public works department, courtesy of Director Glenn Campbell.
1. The Public Works Department gets around – a lot.
Over the course of a year, public works employees make over 2.7 million pickups of solid waste, recycling and bulk items. Last year, crews picked up 29,312 tons of solid waste and 4,247 tons of bulk materials. To do so, employees drove over 600,000 miles.
2. Customer service is a big deal.
Last year, the Public Works Department handled over 51,000 calls for service from residents. The department also handled over 54,000 visits to the recycling center on Ridge Road, often known as “The Hill,” where residents can drop off bulk items as well as some hazardous materials, brush and leaves.
“I came from a customer service background, and it’s one of the finest groups – if not the finest group – I’ve ever worked with,” Campbell said.
3. Brick has a lot of parks, fields and beaches – and somebody has to maintain them.
That “somebody,” collectively, is the Public Works Department’s Parks Division. The division was once its own, separate department before Mayor John Ducey and the township council restructured things and rolled Parks into Public Works with the aim of saving money and having the departments work more cohesively.
The Parks Division has a daunting task in maintaining township facilities: there are 17 parks, 10 basketball courts, three bocce courts, 15 soccer fields, two in-line hockey rinks, 9 miles of bike trails, plus 22 softball and baseball fields to look after.
4. There are a lot of things you don’t think of.
The Parks Division’s employees make sure 1,775 sprinkler heads are in working order throughout township-owned property, and maintain 147 acres of grass fields that need to be mowed and manicured. The division maintains 10 beach properties and 69 acres of land that require lake management procedures.
5. Snow removal is more than just removing snow.
Preparing and treating roads for winter weather is a team effort, involving employees of Public Works, the Parks Division, as well as the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority. Though many – if not most – snow events don’t measure up enough to require plowing, road salting, brining and sanding are performed frequently when the mercury drops below freezing. Last year, road crews were mobilized 28 times from January through March.
6. Brick residents are recycling – and it’s paying off.
Pat yourself on the back, Brick. By recycling more than ever before, the township received a 57 percent increase in its annual tonnage grant for recyclable materials last year, amounting to $280,000. That broke the previous grant record of $120,337.
“We have, for the first time, a full-time recycling coordinator and she’s doing a great job,” said Campbell. By working with businesses, schools and residents, the township has generated more than $100,000 in revenue.
7. The nooks and crannies count.
Public Works employees maintain all of the retention basins in town and are also responsible for maintaining numerous intersections where there are grass medians.