According to the America Public Works Association, “public works is the combinations of physical assets, management practices, policies, and personnel necessary for government to provide and sustain structures and services essential to the welfare and acceptable quality of life for its citizens.” Public works includes the engineering, construction, and utilities carried out by government for the benefit of citizens. This includes public buildings, transport infrastructure, public spaces, public utilities, and other public assets or facilities.

After the stock market crash in 1929, The New Deal (1933-1939) included America’s first public works projects. The New Deal’s three main focuses were: relief, recovery, and reform. Public works fell under the relief category and the Public Works Administration was created in 1933. The program organized and provided funding for government buildings, hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, and dams. Public works have evolved a lot since the 1930s, creating the necessary infrastructure for massive cities, sprawling suburbs, and quaint towns to thrive.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was any early project of The New Deal. Its original purpose was to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, regional planning, and economic development to the Tennessee Valley. It has since evolved into an electric utility. TVA went on to build the Douglas Lake Dam and the Cherokee Lake Dam in the 1940’s.

We just celebrated National Public Works week in May and want to highlight our services and our team. In White Pine, our public works fall under the following departments: sanitation, street, water, and wastewater. All our Public Works employees help with additional town projects as needed but we are going to discuss their typical responsibilities.

Sanitation and Street Departments

The sanitation department is responsible for collecting and disposing of both residential and commercial garbage and brush. Our sanitation team runs the sanitation convenience center for discarding large objects and hazardous waste that cannot be in routine trash pick-up. The street department maintains and repairs public streets, traffic signage and lights, storm drainage systems and other city facilities. Our employees work on all the equipment themselves when possible.

In our city, the sanitation and street employees complete tasks with both departments. They mow all the town’s property and trim trees blocking right of ways. This includes mowing both parks in town, which is a large project. During the fall, this group cleans the leaves off the roads and takes brush and leaf piles from residents. In the wintertime, these employees clear the roads of snow and ice and treat the roads to keep residents safe.

Water and Wastewater Departments

The water in your home comes from treated groundwater. Groundwater lies under the surface of the land and travels through and fills openings in the rocks called aquifers. The water department is responsible for the usage of your water in your home, i.e., tap water, sprinkler, washing machine, etc. The water department is responsible for reading meters, repairs and maintenance on lines, and overall maintenance of wells and the plant. This is the department that generates your water bill each month. REMINDER: Do NOT use to pay your White Pine water bill.

The wastewater treatment facility takes the used water from your home, filters and disinfects it, pipes it to storage, and recirculates it back into the system. There are tests run daily and we have extremely strict standards and protocols in place to ensure safety when it leaves the plant. Also, we publish our water quality report annually on our website for public access.

Ways to help keep the water clean

Another goal of the water and wastewater department is to educate citizens about how to keep their city’s water clean. The following steps can help achieve this goal.

  • Avoid flushing medicine
  • Properly dispose of hazardous waste
  • Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly

All these things can affect our drinking water and put a strain on the treatment process. To learn more about helping improve our water quality, click here.

Ways to reduce water usage

Water conservation helps to reduce the strain on the treatment facility as well. There are many simple things you can do to conserve water and it will save you money on your utility bill.

  • Check toilets, faucets, and pipes for leaks.
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving
  • Take shorter showers, even 60 seconds can make a huge difference
  • Install a flow restrictor on your shower
  • Run dishwasher with a full load
  • Run washing machine with a full load
  • Wash your clothes with cold water rather than warm or hot water
  • Water your lawn only when it needs it

Join Our Team The Town of White Pine Public Works takes pride in overseeing the infrastructure of our buildings, transport, and public spaces. Whether it is ninety degrees or fifteen degrees, our public works team is working to make sure our town looks its best and operates at its best. We hope you enjoyed learning more about us and what we do. You can set up your sanitation or water services here.