Public Works Department
The Oberlin Public Works Department maintains the City's built and natural infrastructure through the coordinated efforts of six divisions: Administration; Engineering; General Maintenance; Building & Grounds; Water; and Waste Water. Properly maintained and well-operated infrastructure positively affects our residents' quality of life, our business' ability to thrive, and the general public's perception of our community.
The following is a brief overview of the work of the Department. For more information, please visit the Public Works Department website or call us at (440) 775-7218.
The administration of the Public Works Department provides leadership, management, and day-to-day coordination of the work of the Department.
Buildings and Grounds Division
The division is primarily responsible for maintaining the City’s buildings, parks and Westwood Cemetery. The division shares responsibility with the Oberlin Municipal Light and Power System for the City’s roughly 3,000 curb lawn trees. Staff works closely with the Recreation Division to coordinate the City’s recreational programs. The Buildings and Grounds Division may be contacted at (440) 774-2820.
City Parks – The City’s 2011 “Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan” indicates that the City meets or exceeds National Recreation Standards in virtually every category. Our parks, totaling over 200 acres of woods, water, and open space, provide numerous active and passive recreational opportunities. They include (in alphabetical order): Bill Long/Scott & Olive Carson Nature Preserve; Depot Park; Don J. Pease Memorial Bike Path, Oberlin’s section of the North Coast Inland Bike Trail; East College Street Plaza; Gasholder Building (future home of Oberlin’s Underground Railroad Center); Legion Field; Martin Luther King Jr. Park; Morgan Street Reservoir; Oberlin Recreation Complex; Park Street Park; Parsons Road Reservoir; Roadside Park; Spring Street Park; and Wright Park. Fishing is permitted at the Morgan Street Reservoir, Bill Long Nature Preserve and Parsons Road Reservoir. Boating is prohibited at the Morgan Street and Bill Long Reservoirs. Non-motorized boats only are permitted on the Parsons Road Reservoir.
In 2011, the City acquired the 15-acre Green Acres site on Oberlin Road between East Lorain and East College Streets; this is expected to be the site of a future neighborhood park.
People wishing to make reservations for use of a picnic shelter or park facility may contact the Recreation Division at (440) 775-7254.
All parks are open from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset.
Mosquito Control – The goal of the Mosquito Control program is to reduce the number of nuisance mosquitoes and mosquitoes which may transmit the LaCrosse Encephalitis and West Nile viruses. The City of Oberlin has educational pamphlets and environmentally-safe mosquito control larvicide in briquette form available for residents. The brochure explains the life cycle of the mosquito and suggests ways in which residents can reduce mosquito breeding habitat on their property. Mosquitoes breed in standing water so it is important to check gutters, planters, bird baths, and any other place on your property where water can pool. The briquettes are used in standing water to prevent mosquito larvae from maturing to adulthood. Briquettes are free and come with instructions for use.
Briquettes and educational pamphlets are available at City Hall, 85 South Main Street, during normal business hours. The educational pamphlet can also be viewed here. Please call (440) 775-7218, if you need additional information.
Westwood Cemetery – Situated on nearly 40 acres along the south side of Morgan Street, Westwood Cemetery was founded in 1863. The cemetery is the final resting place of many of Oberlin’s most influential residents, including many associated with Oberlin College and Oberlin’s role in the Underground Railroad. Many beautiful monuments and headstones may be found throughout the cemetery grounds. Westwood Cemetery contains a diverse variety of wildlife and trees; it is a popular destination for a peaceful walk.
The Oberlin Heritage Center has prepared a 64-page guidebook about Westwood Cemetery. The Oberlin Heritage Center may be contacted at (440) 775-1700 or go to www.oberlinheritage.org.
Questions regarding Westwood Cemetery may be addressed to the Buildings & Grounds Division at (440) 774-2820 or to the Public Works Department at (440) 775-7218.
This division includes a full time Professional Engineer and the City’s Information Systems Manager. They plan, design, bid, and oversee the construction of the City’s capital improvement projects. An excavation permit is required for all work in the public rights-of-way.
In addition, the Engineering Division provides and coordinates IT support to all of the City’s other Departments and Divisions. The Engineering Division may be contacted at (440) 776-0037.
General Maintenance Division
The General Maintenance Division has multiple areas of responsibility including: Streets; Sanitary and Storm Sewer Collection; Recycling, Composting, and Refuse Collection; and the City’s Central Garage. This division may be contacted at (440) 775-7270.
Streets – This division area includes capital planning, patching, and repair; pavement marking and street signs; sweeping; snow plowing and salting. Oberlin uses salt sparingly because of its corrosive effect and negative impact on water quality and the environment. All intersections and dangerous areas are regularly salted, other areas are spot salted, as necessary.
Sidewalks – City residents are responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks abutting their property (Ord. 1005 AC CMS and Chapter 521.0). The sidewalk should be cleared within a reasonable time after the abatement of a storm, normally within 12 hours.
Sanitary and Storm Sewer Collection – This division area provides maintenance and operation of the collection systems in accordance with the requirements of the City’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.
Recycling, Composting, and Refuse Collection – The City provides comprehensive recycling, composting, and refuse collection services to residents, businesses, and institutions. These services are funded by user fees and by a property tax levy.
Residential services include:
• Curbside source-separated residential recycling and refuse collection.
o Separated recyclables and trash are collected on a weekly basis, Tuesday through Friday, including holidays. Recyclable materials currently collected include 1) steel and aluminum cans; 2) glass bottles and jars; 3) plastics #1 and #2; 4) mixed paper; and 5) clean corrugated cardboard. Please refer to the City's web-site for current detailed information regarding recycling. Brochures and recycling containers are available free of charge at City Hall.
o Residential refuse must be placed in containers no larger than 32-gallon capacity. Plastic or galvanized metal trashcans with lids and/or closed heavy plastic bags are suitable. The weight of the containers may not exceed 50 lbs. Up to three containers will be collected per week. Tags for additional bags can be purchased for $1.00 each at the City Finance/Utility Office located at 69 South Main Street. Tags must be attached to the extra bags. Rear yard collection is available for elderly or infirm residents.
o Large Trash Collection – The City allows each household one (1) free large trash collection per year. Large trash collection must be scheduled in advance. The number of pickups in any given week is limited and appointments are made on a "first come - first served" basis. The amount of refuse that can be put out for large trash collection is limited to two cubic yards. If the amount of trash is over two cubic yards, the City will bill at a rate of $12.00 per cubic yard. Unscheduled large trash collections will be picked up and the resident will be billed $50.00 or $18.00 per cubic yard, whichever is greater.
o Temporary Dumpster Service – Six cubic-yard dumpsters are available to residents on a temporary basis. The City must be able to deliver, service, and remove the dumpster without damage to trees, buildings, and overhead wires. Dumpsters must be placed on an improved, hard, and level surface such as gravel, asphalt, or concrete. Applications are available on the City’s web-site under "Forms" or at the Public Works office at 85 South Main Street. Payment is required in advance with the application. Dumpsters are only delivered and picked up on Wednesdays. Temporary dumpster service is suspended each year during the last two weeks of May.
The following materials cannot be collected by the City’s refuse collection program: Hazardous or infectious wastes; tires; storage batteries; appliances containing Freon or in which the Freon was not removed by a licensed person; yard waste (other than a nominal amount incidental to other refuse); waste oil; bricks; rocks or concrete; dirt; or any material prohibited by State or Federal law from being land-filled. Household hazardous waste, electronics, fluorescent lamps, scrap tires, and many other materials can be safely recycled at the Lorain County Solid Waste Management District’s Collection Center in Elyria. Please call 1-800-449-5463 or visit their website at www.loraincounty.us/solidwaste.
• Composting – The City operates a Class IV compost facility. Materials picked up by the City are managed at the facility. There is NO public drop-off. On a monthly basis, during the growing season, the City gives away leaf compost and wood chips.
• The City encourages its residents to compost leaves, yard waste, kitchen scraps, and other vegetative material at home. For a free brochure contact the Department at (440) 775-7218.
• The City collects the following materials:
o Brush Collection – Curbside brush collection service is provided one month in the spring and one month in the fall. Dates of this service will be announced on the City’s web-site and in the local media. Specific guidelines on brush collection are available here or by calling (440) 775-7218.
o Leaf Collection – Leaf collection is scheduled every fall, generally near the end of October. The City will make passes through town until a majority of the leaves are collected or until snow falls. Leaves are to be raked to the curb lawn only and not into the street. Leaves in the street clog storm drains and contribute excess nutrient loading to Plum Creek. The City will not collect leaves in the spring. Residents may use the yard waste collection for residual leaves.
o Holiday Tree Pick-up – Holiday trees will be collected at the curb during normal collection days, after Christmas through February. Trees should not be cut or bundled and should not be placed in plastic tree bags. All garlands and decorations must be removed.
o Yard Waste – Yard waste includes grass clippings, weeds, and other non-woody plant materials. During the growing season, the City collects yard waste on Mondays; collection must be scheduled in advance by calling (440) 775-7218. Yard waste must be placed in paper “lawn and leaf” bags or plastic yard waste bags that are clearly marked “biodegradable” by the manufacturer. Maximum weight is 30 lbs. per bag. Residents must purchase yard waste tags for $1.00 each from the City Finance/Utility Office located at 69 South Main Street.
Water Environment Protection Facility
The City owns and operates a 1.5 MGD Class IV Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plant treats the City’s wastewater in a series of physical, chemical, and biological processes before discharging cleaned water to Plum Creek. Effluent meets or exceeds all requirements of the U.S. and Ohio Environmental Protection Agencies. Class B bio-solids are land applied to farm fields at agronomic rates in accordance with all regulations. The facility can be contacted at (440) 775-7280.
The City of Oberlin has operated its public water supply system since 1887. In fact, Oberlin operated the first lime-soda softening plant in the country from the historic waterworks building located on Morgan Street. Today, the Water Division operates a 2.25 MGD Class IV facility serving nearly 3,000 homes and businesses. Our water supply is pumped from the West Branch of the Black River and stored in a 386 million gallon upland reservoir prior to treatment at the plant. Treated water is pumped into over 40 miles of water distribution lines and to two elevated storage tanks. Our distribution system not only provides high quality drinking water, but also fire protection services throughout the community.
Our water consistently meets all state and federal water quality regulations. For more information, follow the links on the City’s web-site to view the most recent Consumer Confidence Report. Additional water quality information is available by contacting us at (440) 775-7290.