Category Archives: DPW

DPW Update from Mayor Dolan

I am happy to inform you of advancements in several projects that have started or are about to start this month. These projects illustrate our continued commitment and investment in infrastructure and maintenance of our utility systems and services. Below is a listing of some of our major initiatives:

2017 Water Main Improvements
The City opened bids on September 14th for this year’s water main improvements project, which is being funded through the MWRA’s zero-interest loan program. The project is estimated to cost approximately $1,000,000 including design, construction, and construction services and consists of work on Warwick Road, Perkins Street from Warwick Road to the Stoneham line, Altamont Avenue, and Day Street. The low bidder was N. Granese & Sons from Salem, MA. We anticipate beginning construction in the coming weeks and hope to complete the majority of the work prior to the end of the calendar year.

On Altamont Avenue, Perkins Street, and Day Street, the work will consist of replacing and upsizing existing water mains, along with replacement of all water services between the new mains and the limits of the City’s rights-of-way. On Warwick Road, the City presently has two parallel water mains—one 6-inch and one 16-inch. The proposed work on Warwick Road consists of abandoning the 6-inch main and connecting all house services and side streets’ water mains to the 16-inch main. The four impacted streets are scheduled to be final paved in 2018.

In addition to this project, the water main was replaced under a separate contract on First Street from Ashcroft Road to Sixth Street (in front of the Winthrop School). Finally, water main flushing has begun this week and will continue through mid-November, to flush out our water system and to exercise and test our water system components (valves and hydrants) to ensure continued operation. Flushing is being completed by our in house Water Operations crew.

Infiltration and Inflow Investigation and Reduction
Throughout 2017, the City has been aggressively investigating the sewer system in select areas identified as contributing the highest volumes of extraneous flows, or infiltration and inflow (I/I), to the sewer system. These areas have been the subject of internal camera inspections, flow isolation to determine nighttime flows, and manhole inspections. Based on the results of these tests, the City and our consultants from Weston & Sampson Engineers have identified pipe segments that will benefit from cast-in-place lining. This technology is trenchless, meaning that all work is planned to be performed from the surface using existing manholes for access. The bid prices ranged from approximately $1.1M to $1.3M, and bids are presently being evaluated with an award anticipated to take place next week. This project is also being funded through the MWRA assistance program, which consists of a 75% zero-interest loan and 25% grant for sewer projects.

Complete Streets
On August 31, 2017, the City submitted our Complete Streets Prioritization Plan to MassDOT, culminating a year-long effort of identifying and evaluating projects for inclusion in the document. As we await MassDOT comments and approval, we are now preparing our first application for implementation grant funding, which can total up to $400,000 per community per year. Specifically, we are preparing the grant application to include pedestrian and bicycle improvements around Melrose High School and Melrose Veteran’s Memorial Middle School, creation of an improved north-south bicycle route from Wakefield to Main Street at West Wyoming Avenue, and configuration, accessibility, and crosswalk improvements to Howard Street from Green Street to Nelson Road. If approved for funding, these projects would be constructed in 2018. The program has also identified several other projects which we are currently reviewing for submission in future Complete Streets grant program cycles and also some which we are exploring alternative construction funding sources to bring forward.

Multi-year Utility and Roadway Improvement Plan
Thus far in 2017, National Grid has completed gas main and service replacements on Tremont Street between the Lynn Fells Parkway and Lake Avenue, West Hill Avenue, York Terrace, Botolph Street between West Hill and York, Albion Street, Altamont Avenue, Aaron Street, First Street between Ashcroft Road and Sixth Street, and Vinton Street between Glen Road and Warwick Road. They are presently continuing gas main and service replacement projects on Warwick Road, Spear and Hancock Streets, and Florence Street between West Wyoming and West Foster. They intend to complete the construction season with projects on North and South High Streets, Frances and Bartlett Streets and East Emerson Street.

The City’s 2017 Road Program is following behind utility work after adequate time has been allowed for roadway settlement. This summer, we completed paving on Cleveland Street and on Tremont Street between the Lynn Fells Parkway and West Emerson Street. Pavement markings on each of these streets are scheduled to be painted in the coming weeks. Also this summer, we completed work at the Winthrop School to add a new drop-off driveway on First Street and to expand the teacher parking lot.

During the fall, we are scheduled to begin paving and sidewalk work on Albion Street and Day Street, West Hill Avenue, York Terrace, Spear Street, Hancock Street, Aaron Street, and First Street between Ashcroft Road and Sixth Street. Some of these streets will be completed in the 2017 construction season, while others will be paved with a binder course and allowed to settle further until spring 2018, when the final top course will be paved.

Opt-In Monthly Water & Sewer Billing to start in October
We are happy to announce that starting in October, we will be introducing a monthly option for water & sewer bills. Currently, residents can only receive their water and sewer bill quarterly (4 times per year). Starting next month, you will have the option to switch to monthly billing (12 bills/year). This is not mandatory, this is your choice. The Public Works Water & Sewer Billing office will be rolling this out by notifying one area of Melrose each month, starting in October based on our reading and billing cycle. It will take until April to offer to the entire City. Instructions on how to opt in will be in your quarterly bill.

Other Upgrades on the Way
Lastly, Public Works has also partnered with various organizations and will be moving forward with smaller improvement to our parks and open spaces. Plans are currently being finalized to upgrade the Adopt-a-Site at the island of Bellevue and the Lynn Fells Parkway; construction of a new WWII Memorial will be completed and opened this coming Veteran’s Day; solar lights will be added to the Dog Park; and construction for a new dog park at Pine Banks has commenced.

For further information on these projects, please visit:

  1. 2017 Construction Projects:
  2. 2017 Flushing Program:
  3. Monthly Water & Sewer Opt in Monthly Billing Program Questions can be directed to:

City of Melrose to Conduct Smoke Testing

In order to improve sewer service, on behalf of the City of Melrose, Weston & Sampson will be conducting smoke testing on portions of the sanitary sewer system throughout the City from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, during the months of September and October 2017.

These inspections are being conducted as part of Melrose’s 2017 Sewer Investigation Program. The purpose of smoke testing is to locate sources of rainwater entering the sanitary sewer. By removing this extra flow, Melrose will reduce the amount of unnecessary wastewater it sends to the MWRA. This extra flow is called inflow. The reduction of inflow is an important component of the City’s present Infiltration and Inflow (I/I) reduction program.

During the test, white smoke is introduced to the sanitary sewer system via a smoke-generating machine. During this procedure, white smoke will be venting from holes in manhole covers and from plumbing vent pipes located on or near your roof surface. THIS IS NORMAL AND SHOULD NOT CAUSE ALARM.

Smoke should not enter your premises unless there is either a dry trap in an unused fixture or a plumbing defect. You may wish to pour two gallons of water down any basement floor drain or unused plumbing fixture to ensure that the drain trap will be effective.

Should smoke be detected within your building, do not be alarmed. The smoke is NON-TOXIC, NON-STAINING, and dissipates quickly through open windows. IF YOU HAVE A LUNG AILMENT or RESPIRATORY CONDITION SUCH AS ASTHMA OR EMPHYSEMA, STAY AWAY FROM THE SMOKE. Any smoke within a building should be immediately reported to the Fire Department at 911 and the persons conducting the tests.

Weston & Sampson company vehicles are black and/or gray with the company name on the sides, and their personnel will be wearing shirts with the Weston & Sampson markings. All Weston & Sampson staff will carry a current identification card.

Any questions should be directed to Weston & Sampson at (978) 548-6352. Leave a message including your name, address, and telephone number and your call will be promptly returned.

Citywide Flushing and Hydrant Testing Program Begins September 19

The City’s biennial water main flushing program will begin Tuesday, September 19, 2017, and run through early November. The intent of the flushing program is to clean out any sediment that collects in water mains and to test and evaluate water system components such as hydrants and valves. Over the course of the next two months, every stretch of water main in the city will be flushed by closing off certain valves in the city’s water distribution system and allowing hydrants in that area to run for a period of a few minutes. Residents should not use their water when we are flushing or testing on their street, as it may result in sediment in home plumbing and discolored water.

Hydrant flushing will be taking place between Washington/Pleasant/Wyoming and Malden next Tuesday to Thursday. Flushing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

More information is available on our 2017 Water Main Flushing page. Please check the street list or call the Engineering Division at 781-979-4172 to determine our daily list of streets to be flushed. The street list will be updated on flushing days, no later than 4:00 pm, to reflect the completed streets and the following day’s anticipated schedule. Some streets may require re-listing for completion, so check the street list for the completion of your street or call the Engineering Division at 781-979-4172.

Paper Shredding & Mattress Recycling Event on September 16

Public Meeting on Complete Streets on June 29

The City of Melrose will be holding a public meeting on Thursday June 29th at 5 PM in the Aldermanic Chamber at City Hall to present the proposed 15 Complete Streets projects that the City intends to submit to MassDOT in order to qualify for construction grant funds. There will be an explanation given as to how the list was narrowed down from 43 to 25, as well as what factors were then used to determine the proposed 15 projects that would comprise the City’s Prioritization Plan. For more information about the Complete Streets program and to view the project lists, please visit Melrose’s Complete Streets webpage at: City of Melrose Complete Streets

Melrose Receives $19,000 Grant to Plan Adaptation to Climate Change

Melrose has received a $19,000 Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant that will help the city to predict the impacts of climate change in the region and start planning on how to adapt. The grant will fund training for city staff, as well as planning efforts relating to possible risks such as health issues due to rising temperatures, damage to buildings and other infrastructure due to flooding, and environmental hazards due to more frequent and more severe storms.

“We don’t have the luxury of arguing about climate change,” said Mayor Robert J. Dolan. “The fact is that it is real, its impacts are already being felt around the world, and it will affect Melrose. We must plan carefully to reduce its impact on our people and our infrastructure. We will do this in the context of our overall Hazard Mitigation Plan, which we will be updating at the same time.”

The grant is provided by the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs in accordance with an executive order from Governor Charlie Baker, who instructed EEA last September to help cities and towns plan for the effects of climate change.

More Photos from a Great DPW Day

We posted some photos of DPW Day yesterday, and some of the attendees sent in their own.

Katie Weatherford sent in these photos of Roosevelt School second-graders enjoying the day:

And Stephanie McHugh got these shots of her son Luke riding the big rigs:

Thanks for sharing your day with us!

DPW Day Will Be June 15

The 15th Annual DPW Day will be held on June 15th (rain date of June 16th) from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Tremont Street Operations Facility, 72 Tremont St. Students in grades K-3 of the Melrose schools will attend the event as a field trip, and Melrose residents are also invited to bring their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, ages 8 or younger, to join in the event any time after 9:30 a.m.

Because of the large number of children attending, the City Yard will be closed to residents dropping off yard waste/recyclables that day. In addition, Tremont Street will be closed in front of the DPW building (but open to traffic visiting businesses between DPW and West Emerson Street).

The DPW is hard at work preparing this fun and educational day for the children and residents of Melrose. Our theme this year is DPW STRONG! This year the event will feature a select group of 4th grade students from each school giving interactive presentations from a stage at home plate of Lewis Monk field from 9:30am-10:30am. The 4th grade projects will focus on sustainability, energy and environmental advancements made in the City of Melrose over the past 15 years, and ways that Melrosians young and old can help make their community clean and green. From solar power to single stream recycling, LED lighting, stormwater runoff, water conservation and the sewer system – you won’t want to miss this part of the day!

In honor of this 15th anniversary, DPW Day will feature historical photographs and items from Melrose over the past century (courtesy of Scott Macaulay). The event will also take a look into the future, with renderings of the new school additions and development projects elsewhere in the community. In addition to seeing the vehicles and workers that help keep Melrose’s streets safe and clear year-round, new exhibits, demonstrations and activities will engage kids in the DPW world of engineering, water, trash and recycling. Students will learn where their tap water comes from while designing their own gravity water system with the engineering department, practice their recycling sorting skills through a game made with upcycled materials, and consider the impact of using plastic bags on the environment while posing as a sea turtle in a photo booth made by the Melrose Reycling Committee.

DPW would also like to invite everyone to stop by the popular “Ducks in a Pond” game to thank our Water and Sewer Foreman, Matty Hickey, who will be retiring at the end of June after 45 years working for Melrose DPW.

For more information about this and other events, please visit the Melrose Recycles blog at or call Sadie Brown at 781-665-0142.

DPW Is Sprucing Up Melrose for Spring!

Spring is here! DPW is out planting trees and hanging flags and flowers. Enjoy spring, Melrose! Feel free to call DPW at 781-665-0142 with ways we can help.

Community Cleanup to take place on Saturday May 6

On Saturday May 6 from 9 am to noon, the Melrose Recycling Committee will sponsor a cleanup of public spaces throughout the city. The event will be held in conjunction with the Ell Pond Committee’s annual cleanup and restoration of the Ell Pond area during the same time period. Volunteers should gather at the Memorial Knoll shoreline across from the middle school.

With the support of the Melrose Department of Public Works, the Recycling Committee will be providing plastic gloves and trash bags and will be leading groups to clean up public spaces in Melrose, such as the Middle School and the High School grounds, the Commons, the skateboard park. Additional cleanup targets will depend on the number of volunteers who participate. The Recycling Committee will also be providing information on its ongoing BYOB (“Bring Your Own Bag”) initiative.

MRC’s community cleanup had previously been part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service in January, but has been moved to the spring to facilitate a more thorough cleanup.

The rain date for the event will be Sunday May 7.

The Recycling Committee meets the first Thursday of every month, typically at the library. New members are welcome; call 781-775-5058 for more information.

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