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Frequently Asked Questions

Street Maintenance

Street Cleaning

Stormwater Management

Park Maintenance

Urban Forestry

Rubbish Disposal



Street Maintenance
How can I get a street or sidewalk repaired?
Please call the DPW Office at (978) 468-5580 or e-mail and leave your name, phone number and the address of the sidewalk defect.

Where can I get information on street construction?
Please call the DPW Office at (978) 468-5580.

How can I get a broken streetlight repaired?
Report the address of the light pole or the light pole number (two or three digit number located on the pole usually within 6-8 feet up from the base) to National Grid.

Street Cleaning
I am reporting a dead animal on the street or sidewalk.
Leave your name and phone number, and state the type of animal (if possible) and location. Please indicate whether the animal is located on the street or sidewalk. The town is responsible for the removal of dead animals from public property only (roads, sidewalks, parks, etc). We are not permitted to go onto private property for removal.

When is street sweeping done in town?
Usually in the spring (April or May).

Stormwater Management
How can I get a catch basin cleaned that appears blocked?
Please call the DPW Office at (978) 468-5580 or e-mail us and leave your name, phone number and nearest address or street intersection of the catch basin. All catch basins are normally cleaned once a year in the spring (March or April).  Catch basins that are completely blocked are cleaned within 48 hours of notification of Pubic Works. Residents can assist Public Works by clearing debris off of catch basin grates, cleaning up debris along the curb in front of their property, and by never putting leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste into a catch basin.

Who should I call if I see someone dumping into a catch basin?
Call the Emergency Center at (978) 468-4421 and leave the nearest street intersection of the catch basin and, if known, the material that was dumped.

Who should I call if I notice an oily or dirty discharge from a stormwater outfall?
Please call the DPW Office at (978) 468-5580 and leave the nearest street or area of the stormwater outfall.

Park Maintenance
Who do I call if a park needs maintenance attention?
You may call the Department of Public Works at (978) 468-5580 or email us and your request will be forwarded to the appropriate foreman.

What parks does DPW care for?
The DPW maintains Patton, Cutler & School Street Park.

Where can my dog run without a leash?
At all parks, the town ordinance on leash control applies. And of course, dog walkers are required to pick up dog waste at all sites.

Who do I call to reserve a field for sports and games?
You may call the Recreation Department at (978) 468-2178.

Do I need a permit to have a picnic at Patton Park?
It depends upon the size and complexity of your event. For a small family outing that does not involve on-site cooking, no permit is required. If you have something else in mind, contact the Town Clerk's Office at (978) 468-5570, give us the details, and we’ll advise you on what may be required.

Can I use grills for cooking in parks?
Town regulations do not allow such open fires in parks, unless you are issued a permit for a special event. You will need to complete a permit application.  Contact the Town Clerk's Office at (978) 468-5570.

Who do I call to get a permit for a carnival or other special event?
You may contact the Town Clerk's Office at (978) 468-5570.

Urban Forestry
There is a Town tree that needs trimming, who do I speak to?
The DPW is responsible for the trimming of public trees only. This includes all trees located on public streets and town parks and open space. Please call the DPW at (978) 468-5580 or e-mail us and leave your name, phone number and location of the tree. If the tree is located on private property, the owner of the property is responsible for its maintenance.

There are tree limbs down, how can we get them removed?
The DPW will pick up limbs from Town trees only. Please call the DPW at (978) 468-5580 or e-mail us and leave your name, phone number and location of the tree. If the tree is located on private property, the owner of the property is responsible for the clean up.

Who do I call if a Town tree needs work?
There are a variety of ways. If your request is of a routine nature, contact the DPW at (978) 468-5580. Your request will be entered into our database, and staff will prioritize and schedule the work. We receive literally dozens of requests each day during peak season, so the response to non-emergency tasks is not necessarily immediate.

What trees does DPW care for?
We maintain trees within the town right-of-way (i.e. the layout of a town street), in town parks, cemeteries, public building grounds, and other town properties. Trees along certain state highways within the town are maintained by the state. Trees along certain private ways within the town may be the responsibility of the abutters. If you are not sure whether or not a tree that needs attention is a town tree, please contact us. We do not perform tree work on private property, so for that, you will need to hire an arborist.

I think my tree should be cut down, will DPW do that?
We do not remove Town trees without good reason. We do not remove Town trees because they drop leaves or acorns, because it has grown too large or shades your lawn, or because it is not conveniently located. We will remove Town trees that are hazardous. In the context of state law, a hazard tree poses a threat to persons and/or property. As defined by the International Society of Arboriculture, a hazard tree must meet three criteria:

  • The tree is sufficiently large enough to cause damage should it fall;
  • The tree has a target (that would be damaged should it fall);
  • The tree has a condition that would make it likely to fall.
We will promptly inspect requests for removal. In many cases, a tree may be developing a condition that would ultimately make it a hazard, but not imminently. The removal of such Town trees requires a public hearing as prescribed by state law. In some cases, the entire tree may not be hazardous, but some maintenance work is required. We will enter that work request into our database and schedule the work within our priorities.

What can be done about the way the utility company prunes trees?
Line clearance pruning, while unsightly to many people, is necessary to ensure reliable service. The type of pruning that is used by National Grid contractors is called directional pruning, and is the method that provides the best balance of maintaining utility air space as well as tree health. The best solution to the problem is planting the right tree in the right place. The town strives to limit the planting of trees under transmission lines to those species that will mature at a height of 25 feet or less.

What can I do about tree roots in my water line?
While tree roots do not cause cracks in an otherwise undamaged water line, they will find their way into cracks or failures in the lines. We do not remove trees solely because of roots in the lines. The best defense is to make sure that your service lines are in good condition and that they are not cracked. If you find that roots have exploited a fault in the line, the best remedy is to replace that section of pipe.

What can I do about tree roots pushing up the sidewalk?
Tree roots can certainly contribute to sidewalk failure, but generally do not cause the heaving initially. We do not remove trees solely because of sidewalk failure. You may contact the Department of Public Works (978) 468-5580 or e-mail us to have the sidewalk inspected.

I'm afraid that the tree on my neighbor's property is going to fall on my house, will DPW help?
We cannot intervene in these matters. Massachusetts case law has established that a tree can represent a nuisance, just as a dilapidated building may be. Our advice is to communicate with your neighbor first, by certified letter if necessary.

I'm tired of raking leaves and cleaning gutters, why won't the DPW do something about its tree?
We do not remove trees for this reason alone. The benefits of shade trees along town streets—shading and cooling your property, regulating the flow of stormwater along your street, the aesthetic value—far outweigh the work created by fallen leaves.

Will DPW pick up branches if I stack them on the curb?
We do not pick up branches from trees on private property.

Rubbish Disposal
My trash was not picked up even though it was schedule for pickup today.
Call the DPW Office at (978) 468-5580 or (978) 468-5581 and give the address of the missed pick up. Always leave us your name and a return phone number. DPW will try to pick it up the same day. However, if this is not possible, we will schedule the pick up for the following day.

Why did I get a ticket for putting out my trash too early ... what is the rule?
Trash in barrels with tight-fitting lids cannot be placed on the curb until 6 p.m. the night before collection. Trash in plastic bags can only be placed at the curb on collection day, no later than 7 a.m. Only heavy duty plastic bags are accepted. Emptied receptacles need to be removed from the curb by 6 p.m. on the day of pickup.

What types of items can I put out in my blue bin for recycling collection?
No plastic bags or styrofoam. Curbside recyclable items include:
  • Paper (newspaper, magazines, phone books, mixed paper, beverage containers, drink boxes, paperboard – place in a paper bags or bundle with a string);
  • Cardboard (flattened and cut 3’ x 3’); and
  • Clean glass, metal and plastic containers (aluminum pie trays, all colors of glass, milk, water and juice jugs, plastic containers # 1 - # 7).

My recycling was not picked up.
Recycling must be set out by 7 a.m. on your collection day, or after 6 p.m. the night before. If there is an orange rejection sticker on your bin, take note of why it was rejected and make sure that your recycling is properly prepared for next week’s pick up.

How do I get a blue bin for recycling?
Bins can be purchased at the 2nd Floor of Town Hall in the DPW Office during normal buisness hours.  They are $10.00 each

When is Leaf Collection? ~How do I prepare for it?
Leaves are collected twice in the fall and once in the spring. Leaves must be set out curbside by 7 a.m. on collection day. 30-gallon paper refuse bags or barrels may be used.   Do not include yard waste, food, soil, rocks, tree limbs, or trash.

I would like to get rid of some furniture, what are my options?
Our trash contractor will pick up one piece of furniture per week i.e. soft mattress, boxspring, wood filing cabinet, chair, small sofa, carpet (must be rolled up, tied and cut in 5’ lengths, no more than 3 bundles per week) etc. on your regularly scheduled trash day.

What should I do with appliances?
These are some items that can be brought to the DPW yard for a fee: dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers, air conditioners, stoves, water heaters, refrigerators, metal desks and metal filing cabinets.

How can I get rid of a computer, television or electronic equipment?
They may be brought to the DPW Yard for a fee.

How do I get rid of Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)?
HHW cannot be thrown away with your regular trash. ~Do not pour chemicals down any drain. ~The town sponsors in September each year a household hazardous waste collection.


My street needs plowing/salting.
Please call the DPW Office at (978) 468-5580 to report the location.  Please note messages are only retrieved during normal business hours.   

Town of Hamilton, 577 Bay Road, Hamilton, MA 01936   FAX: (978) 468-2682