Department of Public Works

Tim Neargarder, Superintendent

(847) 872-5275

ACTION-LINE (On-line request for service)

Guidelines for Residential Water Use During Boil Orders

Branch Pickup | Sewer Flooding | Sewer Backups | Leaf Pickup
Safe Digging-JULIE

The Winthrop Harbor Department of Public Works manages the maintenance of the critical infrastructure of our Village. From larger projects (i.e.: road construction, resurfacing, etc.) to smaller, but equally as important, issues (i.e.: leaf pick-ups, snow plowing, etc.), our Public Works staff does an excellent job in providing top-notch, professional services.

The Department of Public Works also manages the Village's water supply and sewer system. To view the most recent annual Drinking Water Quality Report, click to the Online Document page. The report is also available in print at the Winthrop Harbor Village Hall.

The Department of Public Works can be reached at (847) 872-5275 if you have questions or concerns about the provided services. Residents may also request services and report problems using the online Action Line system.

Check the on-line Community Calendar for listings of seasonal services provided by the Department of Public Works.

Branch Pickup Program -

The Department of Public Works conducts its Branch Pickup Program on all Mondays in May and October.

The Branch Pickup Program is provided to aid our residents who have trimmed their trees in Spring and Fall. The program does not include picking up of branches from entire tree removals.

During all months of the year the Department of Public Works responds 24/7 to emergency situations of branches or trees down, and the Department also responds after severe weather events that have caused damage to trees and branches. In such non-emergency cases residents are asked to contact Public Works to schedule a pickup of the branch debris caused by the storm.

Residents are reminded that Public Works collects trimmed branches only for the Branch Pickup Program in May and October. Branches that are left from entire tree removals are not picked up. In addition, Public Works does not pick up lawn refuse, leaves, grass clippings, tree trunks or logs.

To facilitate timely pick-ups during the program months of May and October;

  • The length of the trimmed branches should be left as long as possible. Longer branches chip up much better than small, cut up pieces.
  • Please spread the trimmed branches evenly along the parkway, with cut ends facing the street. Tangled piles of branches placed haphazardly will not be picked up.
  • If a tree trimming service or lawn service takes down, trims or prunes your tree, the service company must also remove the branches and debris. The Department of Public Works will not remove debris or branches left by tree trimming companies or lawn service contractors.
  • Small amounts of branches or twigs that can fit into lawn refuse bags should be placed into bags instead of in the parkway. These smaller piles of twigs do not go through the chipper well.

Residents who use Groot's Basic Plan for weekly waste pickup service may place up to six yard-waste bags or 32-gallon cans at the curb for pickup each week. This is included in your Basic Plan for waste pickup. Residents using Groot's pay-per-bag waste pickup plan may purchase yard waste stickers at Village Hall or on-line at the Groot website.

For branches that are too large to cut up and dispose of in the yard-waste bags or cans, please contact a commercial tree-trimming, yard maintenance or landscaping service to dispose of the branches.

Sewer Flooding -

In the past when there have been heavy rains in the area, some residents may have experienced interior flooding. Part of our sanitary sewer collection system have been overloaded due to infiltration of storm waters. While some infiltration is due to direct inflow from manholes, we believe much of the overload was due to the illegal discharge of sump-pump water into the residential sanitary service lines.

Public Works is working to correct inflow through manholes with the installation of "chimney seals". We are also performing camera inspections of the sanitary sewer system to attempt to locate sump-pump discharge into the sanitary sewer system.

If your sump-pump discharges into your sanitary sewer, it must be re-routed to discharge into the drainage ditch or storm sewer. For questions, please contact the Public Works department.

Sewer Backups -

Sewer backups can damage homes and businesses. Backups are caused by blockages most commonly found in private service lines, but they can also be caused by a blockage in the main public sewer line. Blockages are most of-ten caused by soil settlement, misaligned joints, root infiltration, pipe collapses, grease buildup, or by non-flushable items being flushed down a toilet or other drain. Public Works recommends that you regularly complete necessary maintenance to your sewer system. We also discourage the use of anything other than regular toilet paper, as even some of the “flushable” wipes can cause blockage of your sewer system over time.

If you experience a sewer backup, call Public Works immediately at 847-872-5275. We are on-call 24/7 for urgent situations. For sewer backups we respond to investigate the public sewer and determine the cause of the backup. If the public sewer is found to be clear, you will be advised to call a licensed plumber to have your private sewer line cleared. Calling Public Works first may save you the expense of a plumbing service call if the blockage is determined to be in the public sewer.

Drainage Ditches -

With heavy rains associated with Spring and early Summer, drainage of storm water becomes a concern for many residents and Public Works. Please keep in mind that all drainage ditches must be maintained by the property owner and must be kept free from any refuse, and all plant material must be cut to a maximum of 6" in height. It is also unlawful for anyone to install culvert, drain, pipe, stone or other material into any drainage ditch within the right-of-way without written application and approval from the Superintendent of Public Works.

Mailbox Replacement Program -

From time to time it is possible that a mailbox becomes damaged by a snow plow. The Village provides a mailbox replacement program, subject to certain limitations, to assist residents under these circumstances.

When a mailbox is damaged, a representative from the Public Works department will inspect the mailbox site. The Superintendent of Public Works or his designee will determine what course of action to follow, and will advise the property owner.

The Public Works department will replace damaged and non-repairable parts only:

  • if the mailbox was located according to U.S. Post Office specifications; or
  • if the snow plow jumped a curb and/or plowed beyond the road shoulder and physically struck the box or post.

Any damage caused by thrown snow will not be repaired or replaced under this program.

If a replacement of the mailbox is necessary and approved, a standard rural type mailbox, approved by the U.S. Postal Service, will be used.

If replacement of only the post is necessary, a treated or cedar 4x4 wood post will be used.

If the property owner desires a non-standard mailbox or post, the Village will reimburse for materials only, to a maximum amount of $35.00. Reimbursement will only be made after proof of purchase and installation by the property owner.

If the mailbox was not originally installed according to Post Office specifications (i.e.: too close to the curb, hanging over the curb, etc.), the Public Works Dept. will only attempt to repair the damaged pieces. Any necessary replacement will be the responsibility of the property owner.

Leaf Pickup Program -

The fall leaf pickup (vacuum) program is provided by our waste hauling vendor, Groot Industries. The program begins mid-October and continues for six weeks. Residents may rake their leaves to the curb or edge or roadway (but not into the roadway). There will be several passes made on each village roadway during the six week period.

Safe Digging Requires a Call to JULIE -

You may be surprised by what's buried in your yard. That's because most electric, gas, water, sewer and telecommunications companies are delivering utility services underground. To avoid personal injury and damage to those underground lines, state law requires you to contact JULIE before any digging project, regardless of the project size or depth. Both the call and JULIE's services are FREE.

You can prevent injury and avoid damage by following these four important steps:

  • Call or Click before you dig
  • Wait the required amount of time (two working days after your phone call)
  • Respect the marks
  • Dig with care

Notify JULIE if you are doing any of the following projects:


Click here for JULIE’s free Homeowner’s Guide to Digging Projects

JULIE website:


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