The Public Works Department is under the leadership of André Kaufman. Mr. Kaufman is a veteran of service to Ocean Springs, beginning with his tenure as an Alderman from 1977 to 1981 and again from 1985 to 1989. He became Director of Public Works in May 1998 after years of consultant development work.
Please click here to view the
City of Ocean Springs Grease Trap Ordinance.
Public Works Department Responsibilities
The Public Works Department is organized into six sub-departments which address its primary responsibilities: Water, Sewer, Streets, Drainage, Maintenance, and Mechanics. The Department’s primary responsibilities are:
- Maintenance of lights, streets, Highway 90 flags, signs, piers, boat ramps, water meters, water towers, wells, sewer pump stations, medians, city landscaping, and holiday decorations
- Maintenance of all City buildings
- Operation and maintenance of the City sewage system. Sewage is transported to the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Waste Water Authority treatment facility seven miles north of the City. Ocean Springs is the only entity on the Gulf Coast that does not deposit treated sewage to waterways.
- Review of proposed commercial properties and subdivisions
- Special event set-up, break-down, maintenance, and traffic control for gatherings such as The Elk’s Lodge Mardi Gras Parade, Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center events, Cruisin’ the Coast, and the Peter Anderson Festival
- Operation of a fleet of vehicles that includes two curbside trash trucks, six backhoes, three track hoes, twenty-six pickup trucks, six dump trucks, five bobcats on trailers, five bush hog tractors, and two sewage cleaning trucks.
- Grounds maintenance of the Evergreen and Bellande cemeteries
- Disaster preparedness
- Drainage and storm water runoff control
- Landscaping at City facillities and streets
Hurricane Katrina – Preparedness and Recovery
When Hurricane Katrina struck Ocean Springs on August 29, 2005, with powerful winds, driving rain, and the worst storm surge in 300 years of recorded history, the City of Ocean Springs was prepared with a comprehensive Hurricane Preparedness Plan. Developed by Director Kaufman and the Department and implemented in 1998, the plan is updated and improved continually since then. Acting under the Plan, the Department had completed these key steps to help the City brace for the storm, with some measures implemented 72 hours before landfall.
- Strategic placement of generators throughout the City to protect key buildings, wells, water, and sewer stations
- Shuttering of all City buildings
- Removal of trash receptacles
- Repositioning rolling stock to three locations throughout town
- Placement of a 16-man work force and the Public Works Director in the Ocean Springs Civic Center the day before the storm
- Shutting off water lines to low-lying areas within hours before the storm to reduce potential breaks in service.
Despite temporary drops in water pressure, the Plan allowed the City of Ocean Springs to maintain water and sewer service even during the worst of the storm. Within 24 hours after the storm, the Department had cleared major thoroughfares for emergency vehicles throughout the city. Six days later, all streets were cleared for traffic except those with debris piles left for traffic control. At the end of April 2006, the Department had worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to remove more than 1.2 million cubic yards of hurricane debris. This is nearly ten times the previous record of 124,000 cubic yards during the recovery from Hurricane Frederic in 1979. That amount of debris is equivalent to filling 112 football fields from goal line to goal line to a depth of six feet.
Department Employees – The People Who Get the Job Done
The Department has 44 employees who service 8000 water and sewer customers and 177 miles of streets within the City limits. In addition to their regular duties, Department personnel must be available 24 hours every day to deal with unexpected problems. For approximately one year after Hurrican Katrina, twelve inmates from the Mississippi Department of Corrections are working to clear drainways.
Although many Public Works employees lost their homes during Katrina, their dedication to the City and their fellow citizens never wavered. Setting their own problems aside, many homeless employees assumed temporary residency in City structures so that they could continue work. The long hours of service in the sweltering heat by Department employees helped the City get back on it’s feet quickly and substantially improved conditions for all of our residents.
A review of the Department in 2004 found that the average Public Works employee was 36 years of age and was married with two children. He or she completed at least one year of college and had worked with the City of Ocean Springs for an average of 12 years.
Significant current projects handled by the Public Works Department include:
- Repair and reconstruction of damage done by Hurricane Katrina.
- $14 million sewer upgrade to reduce inflow infiltration from rainwater. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided a $3 million grant to match City funds. As of 2005, Ocean Springs had spent approximately $7 million over three years. Work is ongoing, with some setbacks from Hurricane Katrina damage.
- Resurfacing Government Street between Pine and Washington during 2005 and 2006. The Public Works Department collaborated with the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) through an allocation of $400,000 in MDOT funding.
- New 2000 gallon/minute water well on the east end of town to improve water pressure. This $900,000 project will be completed in 2007.
- Replacement of 8000 manually read water meters with electronic devices beginning mid-2006 with completion in mid-2007. The electronic meters will make it possible for a single employee to read all the City’s meters within one week. State grants and loans for $2.2 million.
- Upgrade of water piping and fire hydrants in a 12-block area between Halstead, Davidson, Colmer, and Brumbaugh. With the anticipated funding in early summer of 2006, completion is expected in 2007.
Garbage Pickup and Recycling
Garbage pickup and recycling are handled by Delta Sanitation. Contact them at 818.5393 to report problems or to request a recycling bin for new accounts.