(Fargo, ND) -- Ben Dow, Fargo's Director of Public Works, spoke to WDAY Radio about activities and services they provide every day, how they ensure the vehicle fleet owned by Fargo keeps moving, and other services provided by the department.
There are four key areas of operations within Fargo's Public Works Department; which include Streets and Sewers, Water Mains and Hydrants, Forestry, and the Central Garage. These departments have multiple different responsibilities in their own right, and often are pulled together in times of emergency to solve issues immediately happening in our region. This happened earlier this year when a winter storm dropped several inches of snow, which required the divisions to band together and clear the roads in a timely manner.
Streets and Sewers is responsible for maintaining the roads visitors and residents drive every day, in all weather conditions. This means they plow the roads during snow events, but also maintain the 85 pump stations to ensure water does not flood into underground infrastructure. This also includes the Wastewater division, which manages sanitary sewer infrastructure in the city. Other ancillary activities include mowing across the city, foam and mud jacking, and various other tasks that need to be completed.
The role of the Central Garage is straight-forward, to ensure the fleet of over 800 vehicles owned by Fargo will continue to run. This includes vehicles owned by all departments, including police, fire, solid waste, and any others that use vehicles in their day-to-day operations. The Central Garage does send body work to other shops in the city, but general maintenance is done at the one location.
Auctions, Fueling and the Services Tracker
There are several other services provided by Public Works for city employees and for residents in Fargo.
One of the events put on by Fargo is a city auction conducted every year for vehicles and equipment, and twice a year for impounded items. This auction is largely conducted online these days, but residents and interested buyers can still go to the locations listed to place bids on the items for sale. Dow says West Fargo sometimes contributes items for the auction as well. The funds generated from the sales is sent to the city's general fund and is re-appropriated for the next budget season.
The Central Garage is also the home to the fueling station, who purchases the essential gas or diesel in bulk for every vehicle in Fargo's fleet to use every day. Dow says buying in bulk saved Fargo residents just under $1 million dollars last year, but that number can fluctuate depending on prices in a given year.
One of the other services provided by the department includes the Public Works Services Tracker. The tracker currently shows the number of hours since a snow plow has cleared each street in the city. This tracker is currently used exclusively for snow plows in the city, but is planning on seeing expansions to other services provided by Public Works in the coming years.
You can learn more about Fargo's Public Works Department by clicking here.