Friday, September 22, 2023

Connect with us:

What does the Public Works Department do?

Understanding Lansing

by Melanie Jongsma, with information gathered by Will Farlow

LANSING, Ill. (June 20, 2018) – January’s Understanding Lansing article introduced readers to some key Lansing positions—

  • Lansing voters
  • Their chosen elected officials (Mayor, Trustees, and Clerk)
  • The Mayor’s hired position (Executive Assistant)
  • The Mayor’s appointed positions (Village Administrator and members of five Boards and Commissions)
  • The nine Department Heads appointed by the Village Administrator with consent from the Mayor and the Trustees

Understanding the departments

The series continued with articles explaining the nine Village departments, because those departments interact directly with the public in various ways. So far we’ve provided the following:

Public Works

Our next installment focuses on the Public Works Department. Public Works and the Building Department work closely together—while the Building Department focuses on the systems within individual buildings, Public Works is mainly responsible for the systems that connect buildings throughout the Village, such as our streets, sidewalks, sewers, water mains, and other infrastructure. For greatest efficiency, a Public Works Department has a culture of proactive problem-solving, not only responding to calls from residents, but also addressing potential problems before they become issues. Patching potholes, removing downed tree limbs, clearing debris from stormwater grates—these are all small things that prevent larger problems that are more costly to correct.

Just as important, addressing the small things sends a message that Lansing is a community that people are proud to live and work in.

Summers in Public Works

Lansing’s Public Works Department currently consists of 26 full-time year-round workers. The Department also employs seasonal help, giving 5–6 college students aged 18 or older the chance to spend summers assisting the full-time workers.

One summer job the college workers help with is the chipper service provided by Public Works. Residents may bring large branches out to their front parkways on the same day they bring out garbage. (Public Works reminds residents that the chipper truck does not go down Lansing alleys, so branches placed in alleys will not be picked up.) For branches that are too large for the chipper, residents should call Public Works to have them picked up by a Bobcat and a loader.

Twigs and branches smaller than four feet can be placed in residents’ yard waste toters, and small bundles of branches—no longer than four feet—may be placed next to the toter for pickup by Homewood Disposal Company.

When to call Public Works

  1. When you have water problems
    The water department of Public Works is available on a 24-hour basis to take care of water leaks, water billing, and fixing the water meters of Lansing residents. However, for after-hours emergencies, residents should call the Lansing Police Department at 708-895-7150, and they will contact the appropriate personnel to help you. Public Works is not responsible for plumbing problems within a resident’s house, but if you notice sewer problems such as back-ups or slow-running drains, you can call Public Works and ask them to check the main sewer line before you call a plumber.
  2. When you’re planning to move
    Residents who are moving should notify Public Works to set up an appointment for a final water meter reading and billing.
  3. When you have large items to be disposed of
    Public Works can pick up items such as concrete, lumber, dirt, sod, or stone, though there may be a charge associated with this service.
  4. When you notice a pothole
    While major road repaving or reconstruction is contracted out by the Village, Public Works is responsible for patching potholes. The department encourages residents to call and notify them of potholes that need patching.
  5. When you notice sidewalk problems
    Repair and replacement of Lansing sidewalks is handled by Public Works. If you noticed cracked or uneven sidewalks, call the main number and leave the information. Someone from Public Works will come out to evaluate the condition of the concrete and decide on its priority.

Public Works contact info

Lansing’s Public Works Department office is located at 3300 – 171st Street in Lansing. The office is open from 7:00am–3:00pm, Monday–Friday.

  • Call 708-895-7190 during business hours
  • Call 708-895-7150 for after-hours emergencies

Lansing’s Public Works Superintendent position is currently vacant. For more detailed information about the responsibilities of the Public Works Superintendent and the qualifications required for this leadership positions, job descriptions can be requested from Village Hall. Applications and resumés can be emailed to [email protected].


Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.