Duties of the EPW
In addition to operation and maintenance of the city’s infrastructure, the Engineering / Public Works Department also conducts the following special duties.
The city water distribution crew enforces Ohio Administrative Code rules governing backflow prevention within the city. Backflow is a situation where contaminated water siphons from a private residence or business back into the city water mains. Commercial buildings within the city are required to have annual backflow inspections performed in order to ensure the devices on their lines work properly.
Development Review & Oversight
Engineering and Public Works staff work closely with the city planner and Code Enforcement Department in order to ensure new residential and commercial developments in the city properly integrate with existing city infrastructure. EPW provides plan review and comments as part of this process, then limited construction oversight when connecting to public infrastructure. EPW provides standard drawings and specifications to developers and design professionals to aide in this process.
Grease Trap Inspection
All commercial food establishments in the city area are required to minimize the amount of cooking grease entering the sanitary sewer system. Normally this is done via grease interceptors. City wastewater personnel, using data from the Health Department, conducts regular inspections to ensure grease interceptors are working properly around the city.
Engineering and Public Works maintains a certified water and wastewater laboratory. The primary purpose of this lab is to provide quality assurance and oversight for the public drinking water and ensure wastewater treatment is in compliance with the city’s National Polluntant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The lab technicians work closely with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to ensure this occurs. The laboratory also provide fee-for-service testing to other public water providers and the general public when requested. Contact the laboratory at (740) 592-3502 with questions or requests.
The Engineering and Public Works Street Crew regularly conducts road closures in conjunction with festivals and parades, such as Halloween, the International Street Fair, and the Ohio University Homecoming Parade. These activities are initiated and governed by City Council ordinance, administrative requests, and/or the Police Department parade permit process.
Stormwater Pollution Prevention
Engineering and Public Works conducts development review and construction site inspection in order to ensure best management techniques are practiced to keep stormwater clean. EPW also has an active cross-connection elimination program to ensure the sanitary and storm sewers in the city stay separated.
Wellhead Protection & Drinking Water
Engineering and Public Works holds the special duty of oversight and enforcement of the city’s Wellhead Protection Ordinance, Athens City Code Title 39. The source water for the City of Athens comes from 15 groundwater wells situated on the west side of the city. In order to protect the drinking water, the activities in the area surrounding the wells is governed by special regulations. The city enforces these regulations through an active Wellhead Protection Team. The team meets regularly to review development plans, conducts regular patrols, and maintains records of regulated substances stored at facilities in the area. The goal is to prevent any spills or other contamination that may pollute the city’s aquifer, or respond rapidly and properly if a spill occurs.
Yard Waste Collection
Engineering and Public Works collects yard waste on Tuesdays and Fridays for a fee. Contact the yard waste pickup line at (740) 592-3343 to schedule service.