Public Works (Streets, Water & Sewer)

Contact Information

Name Phone Email
Public Works Director
Mark Van Wormer (608) 269-4340 Ext. 228
Water Utility Supervisor
Todd Hanson (608) 269-4340, ext. 226
Wastewater Treatment Plant Manager
Dale Passehl (608) 269-4340, ext. 227
Utility Billing Clerk
Jan Becker (608) 269-4340 Ext. 226

For after hours, holiday or weekend emergencies, please call 911

Water Department Information & Resources

Sparta Water Department Reconnection Charges

Water Service Rates Effective August 15 2018

2018 Consumer Confidence Water Report

Application for Water Service

Garbage Collection FAQ

When is garbage collection for my neighborhood?

Generally, Monday’s route covers the south end of town, Tuesday includes the west-central portion, Wednesday is when the northwest part of the City is collected, Thursday covers most areas north of Montgomery Street, and Friday includes the areas east of Chester Street. Call the Public Works Office at 269-4340, ext. 226 regarding individual addresses. All garbage should be placed at the curb or alley by 5:00 a.m. the day of collection, but no more than 24 hours in advance.

Map of Garbage collection schedule

Who can I call if my garbage is not collected?

Contact the contractor (Modern Disposal Systems) at 269-4300 or Sparta’s Public Works Department at 269-4340, ext. 228.

Am I included in the City’s garbage contract?

All residential properties (four dwelling units or less), City buildings, and places of worship are included in the City’s contract.  Apartments above downtown businesses are not included in the City contract.

What is the city’s recycling program like?

The City requires our contractor to recycle glass, tin, newspapers, magazines, corrugated boxes, #1 through #9 plastic bottles, and aluminum cans and scraps. These items must be separated from garbage and easily identified (placed in a bin or clear plastic bag.)

What will not be picked up?

Appliances, construction material or debris, automotive parts,  and hazardous materials (batteries, wet paint, etc. ) are not included in the contract. Every spring and fall, Monroe County offers a special waste cleanup where such items can be disposed of.  Containers weighing over 50 pounds will not be emptied by the contractor. The contractor may choose to leave loose or wet garbage as well.

Do I have to pay anything for garbage service?

Collection of normal garbage and recyclables are covered by your property taxes, with a portion of these expenses covered by your utility bill.  Appliance pickup costs $20.00 (stickers are available at City Hall or from the contractor), and the contractor may charge you for other items not included in the contract that you want to drop off at his site.

What is included in bulky item collection, and when is that offered?

During the first and third full weeks of the month, you may place large household items (furniture, mattresses, lamps, toilets, etc.) and large metal items (not appliances) on the curb or alley for collection during your normal collection day. If a federal holiday falls within the first or third full week of the month, generally the large item collection will be the following week. If there is a question, contact the contractor (Modern Disposal Systems) at 269-4300.

How will my garbage service be affected by holidays?

On Christmas Day, New Years Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving Day, no garbage will be collected. Typically, the contractor will try to make up the missed route the day after the holiday, and do both routes in one day. If the holiday falls on a Friday, the contractor may collect both routes the day before.

Tree / Brush / Leaf Collection FAQ

What can I set out on my curb for collection, and when will it be collected?

The street Crew collects brush from residential properties within the city the 1st full week of every month. Brush piles should be placed on the boulevard–not in the street–should not be mixed with other yard waste, and should be limited to a size that can be collected by the Street Crew in 30 minutes or less. If a property owner hires a contractor to remove a tree, the contractor should take care of disposal.

Will the City remove my boulevard tree if I don’t like it?

The City only removes boulevard trees if they are potentially hazardous to the public. This can be because the tree is dead or dying, has been damaged in a storm, or presents a traffic hazard in some way. Trees will not be removed simply for the convenience of the property owner. Boulevard trees are trimmed to a height 15 above the street so that large vehicles do not hit them. If a property owner is concerned about a tree limb extending onto their property, they are free to trim that portion of the branches.

What is the City doing about Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)?

The EAB is a small beetle that is threatening the entire ash tree population in the Midwest.  In 2008, the City used a DNR grant to have a response plan drafted.  Since 2009, boulevard and park ash trees have been preemptively removed to lessen the impact when EAB arrives (focusing on small trees, or trees under power lines or in poor health).  We hope to preserve 200 mature ash trees by treating them with insecticides at the appropriate time.  The City has increased its annual tree planting budget, and has received financial help from the DNR and Polar Bears International, planting 700 boulevard trees in 2011 alone!

Are new boulevard trees provided by the city?

Every February, the City accepts requests for new boulevard trees on a first-come/first-served basis. Usually the requests are limited to two trees per year unless trees are left over. The resident is usually given a choice from several different trees, which can be affected by the presence of sidewalks or power lines.

When are Christmas Trees Collected?

Christmas Trees are collected during the first full week of January every year.

Can I put out grass clippings or other yard waste?

The city does not collect grass clippings, as this would be a constant duty that would be very costly. Twice a year (once in the spring and once in the fall), yard and garden waste is collected (these should be kept separate from leaves and brush). The specific times will be advertised in the local newspaper.

When is leaf collection done?

Our Street Crew collects leaves continually in the fall, using a lone employee in a leaf machine. Please do not bag your leaves, and keep the leaves separate from brush or other waste to prevent damage to our machine.

Where are these materials taken?

Leaves are taken behind the City shop and are recycled into mulch. Brush and yard waste is taken to our brush dump on Hardwood Road, where it is made into wood chips. The public may drop these items off at these locations themselves, and may help themselves to wood chips if desired.

Sewer Services FAQ

If I am having sewer problems, is it my responsibility?

If the problem is in the sewer main in the street, it is the City’s responsibility to resolve the problem. If the problem is in the home or in the lateral between your home and the main, however, repairs and damages are the homeowner’s responsibility. If you are experiencing plumbing problems throughout your house, we recommend that you call the City first (269-4340, ext. 226, during normal business hours, or 269-6333 after hours) to avoid getting a bill from your plumber if it turns out to be the City’s responsibility.

How can I avoid sewer gas from entering my home?

Over time, the traps to sinks and floor drains that are seldom used dry out and allow sewer gas from the main to enter the home. Running water into the drains monthly should keep the sewer gas from entering the home. HINT: Adding a cup of vegetable oil to the water surface will slow evaporation.

Can I dump grease down my sink?

No. Grease can solidify and trap other solid particles to completely plug your pipes. Grease should be placed in a separate container and placed in the garbage. Caustics, acids, and solvents can have harmful effects on the sewer system and can be hazardous to workers in the sewer plant. These should also be disposed of separately.

When is the sewer loan going to be paid off?

The sewer loan was taken out in 1991, was paid off in 2010 (a year early!).  This is no longer a part of your sewer bill.

Water Services FAQ

If I need new water service, what does the City pay for?

Paying for the water service is the responsibility of the property owner, plus a $300 fee is charged for the Water Department to make the final connection. If a problem in an existing service is located between the water main and your curb stop, it is repaired at the City’s expense.

Why are hydrants flushed, and when is it performed?

Over time, mineral deposits can build up in our water pipes, so they are flushed twice a year (spring and fall) to remove some of these minerals and to prevent stagnation in our water supply. The specific dates will be advertised in the newspaper.

Is there anything I should do to prevent frozen water lines?

Yes. Especially if your water meter is in an unheated area such as a crawl space, you should protect it from extreme cold. A replacement meter in such cases will be charged to the customer. There are also times when frost forms deep in the ground and threatens to freeze the water service to homes. At these times, the Water Department may advise you to run water at a slow trickle to prevent it from freezing.

Street Maintenance FAQ

What is the City’s snow plowing policy?

Since plowing usually costs the City about $1,000 in overtime pay per storm, we don’t do it as often as some people would prefer. The Street Crew usually plows after a significant snowfall (typically 3″ or more). Other factors are accounted for, such as time of year and the forecast for future storms. If it is likely to warm up quickly, plowing may not be necessary. If plowing is not necessary, we often use salt or sand to keep intersections safe. Plowing is usually done during the overnight hours (starting at 2:00 a.m.) so fewer conflicts with moving or parked cars are encountered, especially in the downtown. Snow is sometimes removed from the downtown or highway areas when the amount of accumulation makes plowing to the side difficult.

Am I liable if someone slips or trips on the public sidewalk in front of my house?

No, that sidewalk is on public right of way, and keeping it safe is ultimately the City’s responsibility. By ordinance, the City has passed the responsibility for clearing snow on to the property owners, but liability remains with the City. State law allows the City up to 21 days to clear snow after a storm, so in most sidewalk injuries, the City is not negligent according to that law.

Should I be concerned about my vehicle during street maintenance?

It is always a good idea to take extra precautions during road work to prevent injury to drivers or workers and to protect vehicles. Of special concern are seal-coating projects, where loose limestone chips are placed on an emulsion and compacted in place. For the first few days, the chips will be loose and can cause damage to vehicles. Slowing down prevents these chips from being kicked up. In very rare cases, tire treads can be affected by a hot rubber material during crack filling, so you may want to avoid these areas immediately after the work is complete.

How are streets selected for maintenance or replacement work?

We maintain a 5-year plan for upcoming street and utility projects. Usually streets that are reconstructed–the most expensive type of repair–have poor pavement and utilities. If the utility mains are good underneath a street, usually a maintenance project is selected instead of complete reconstruction. An asphalt overlay is a good solution for streets that have a solid gravel base, good drainage, and preferably good curb and gutter. A seal coat is often applied to streets that have decent pavement that is starting to crack, again with good drainage and base. And crack filling is often done before seal coating or on newer streets that are starting to crack. The longer we can keep water out of the base of blacktop streets, the longer it will last.

Citizen Request