Newport, NH: Public Works

Larry A. Wiggins P. E. : Director of Public Works

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About Public Works:

  • The Public Works Department is broken down into 4 parts:
    • Highway Department
    • Water & Sewer Department - See left side link for more details
    • Sewage Treatment Plant - See left side link for more details
    • Public Works Garage
      • Lori Schinck - Administrative Assistant
      • Jeremy Proper - Mechanic



2014 Annual Report






Well Development Program:

In recent years Water & Sewer Superintendent, Bob Naylor, and I have submitted budget requests to fund a Well Development Program.  Last year, the Board of Selectmen (BOS) agreed to fund the initial phase which determined potential well development areas in the area over the aquifer (per BOS request).  From the Water System Study completed in 2006, it was determined that the system was at the upper limit of supply.  In addition, the NH Department of Environmental Services has recommended the Town secure another water source for redundancy purposes.  A well program requires at least 5 years to production and this phase is step one in Newport’s business development - to be able to offer industry ample, reliable supply for its operations. 

In September, the Public Works Department received Emery & Garrett’s report on the initial phase of the well development program.  The report recommended the Town proceed with groundwater investigation by authorizing Phase II Investigation in three of the five recommended Groundwater Development Zones.  Phase II work consists of geophysical surveys.  Phase III to V will involve test well installation and pump tests. 


Waste Water Treatment Plant Phosphorus Removal Project;

The Town’s consultant, AECOM, the NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) and the Town continued with optimization of chemicals and dosages for the phosphorus removal system.  The operators struggled with filter clogging and cassette failures until new cassettes were purchased in June.  In May the Town, the Town’s consultant AECOM, and the NHDES met to discuss the plant’s operational status, the status of the EPA’s Administrative Order and possible resolutions. Penta Corporation worked on punchlist items for the first half of the year.  In late summer, AECOM inspected the punchlist status and the filter operations to determine the possible causes of continuing filter issues.  In October the filters were tested for peak flow conditions and in December the Town received AECOM’s report which concluded there were several performance issues with the filters.

The EPA’s Administrative Order also requires the Town to evaluate extraneous flows in the sewer system and make recommendations to address inflow and infiltration (I&I).  In 2012 Water & Sewer Superintendent, Bob Naylor, prepared an I&I testing program to perform flow testing in the sewer mains to determine inflow and infiltration amounts. 

Due to low flows in 2014 the Water & Sewer Department continued with video inspection and dye testing of the sewer mains and with sewer manhole replacement.  Sewer manhole construction is required to be done first on the older sewer mains to provide access for video work.  After the department completes the flow testing and video inspection work, the Public Works Department will prepare a prioritized listing of sewer mains for rehabilitation or replacement. 

Waste Water Treatment Plant Monitoring Wells

In January 2014, the Director and Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) Superintendent, Arnold Greenleaf, prepared the NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) required Annual Summary for the groundwater monitoring around the WWTP lagoons in accordance with the existing NHDES permit.  In mid-summer the Director and Mr. Greenleaf, prepared a Groundwater Release Detection Permit Renewal Application for the monitoring wells at the plant.   In the last quarter of the year Mr. Greenleaf and the Director prepared the required groundwater contour maps for the spring and fall testing as required by permit.  These contour maps will be submitted along with the Annual Summary required in January 2015 under the new permit.

First, Second, Third, Fourth St. Infrastructure Improvement Project

In recent years the Public Works Department has submitted budget requests to initiate the First, Second, Third, Fourth St. Infrastructure Improvement Project. The project as proposed  would reconstruct the water, sewer and drainage systems while upgrading the streets.  It will also include utility pole relocation.  The department is proposing to loop the water mains between First and Fourth Streets.   This may require an easement and for this reason the Director had previously contracted a survey of the north boundary for property line determination.  As with previous infrastructure improvement projects, the department would coordinate public meetings and project walk-throughs to obtain public input prior to final engineering.  The Director will continue to apply for NHDES state revolving loan funds, namely, SRF, DWSRF, and SAG grants/loans to assist with project funding. 




Oak Street Bridge Project

The Director prepared a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for engineering services for the several engineering phases of the Oak Street Bridge Project.  The RFQ was prepared in accordance with the New Hampshire Department Of Transportation (NHDOT) requirements for State Bridge Aid, and submitted to the NHDOT for review and approval.

After receiving the NHDOT’s RFQ approval, the RFQ was advertised and sent to six (6) engineering firms soliciting their interest in the project.

After reviewing the responses to the RFQ, and interviewing the engineering firms in accordance with the NHDOT/LPA manual, the selection committee (Town Manager, Paul Brown; Highway Superintendent, Bill Scanlon; and Director of Public Works, Larry Wiggins) chose Kleinfelder Incorporated as the number one ranked firm.  Subsequently, the NHDOT, after review and approval of the Town’s interview process, approved the Town entering a contract with Kleinfelder for the Study Phase for the bridge.  Kleinfelder submitted an initial proposal including terms and conditions which is under Town review.


Paradise Road Bridge/Coon Brook Bridge

The Town received a letter from the NHDOT requesting a decision on the funding for the Paradise Road Bridge.  As a result, the Board of Selectmen voted to transfer the funding from the Paradise Road Bridge to the Coon Brook Bridge.  The Director prepared the required NHDOT Bridge Aid Construction Funding Application for the Town Manager’s signature.

Shim and Overlay Project

The Director prepared a bid package for the Town’s 2014 Road Paving Project.  The project was advertised and sent to approximately six (6) paving companies.  Bids were received on July 17, 2014.

The contract for the Town’s shim and overlay project was issued to R&D Paving, Inc. of Franklin, NH.  The project was completed in September with paving on seven streets.  Whitney Ave. was also paved since the unit prices received allowed for some additional paving.

Gravel Road Improvements

In 2014, the Highway Department continued to work on segments of the gravel roads where springtime mud creates impassable conditions.  We started in 2013 with a segment of Chandlers Mill Road and have made it a priority to upgrade other sections since then.  The use of geotextiles and reclaimed materials is one example how the Public Works Department utilizes technology.  The historical mud season “fix” of adding gravel or stone is expensive, not very cost effective and it’s usually only temporary.  The Highway Department’s efforts have proven the value of this program with several roads now more passable in springtime. 


The Director prepared a bid package for the Groundwater Monitoring contract at both the Ash Landfill and the Breakneck Road Landfill.   As a result of the bid evaluation, Nobis Engineering, Inc. was awarded the contract for those services.  The Director and Nobis Engineering completed the Groundwater Monitoring Annual Summary Report for the Ash Landfill.


Ash Landfill

The Director and Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent, Arnold Greenleaf, performed the annual field inspection of the Ash Landfill.  The Director prepared the respective inspection report.  The Director and Finance Director, Paul Brown, prepared the required Financial Assurance document submittal which is required by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) for each fiscal year.


Breakneck Road Landfill

Based on the new Groundwater Management Permit from the NHDES, the designated monitoring wells and surface waters were tested in April and November.  The annual summary of those test results will be submitted to the NHDES in January 2015.



Winter Sand

In recent years, the winter sand bid prices have increased dramatically.  Accordingly, the amount of winter sand disposed at the Public Works Garage has become a serious budget issue.  With that in mind, Highway Superintendent Bill Scanlon and I were reading Public about other towns using posts to discourage non-residents and commercial operators from abusing sand usage.  Similarly, we constructed a new winter sand area with posts and believe this will bring a large savings in winter sand costs.  At $6.00 to $8.00 per ton ($8.00/ton in 2013-14), we ask the residents to understand and be patient with the new area.  Contrary to popular rumor, residents are allowed as many buckets of sand as they desire.


Public Works Department Archives

When I arrived at the Public Works Department, there were no drawings on file of any road, bridge, water, sewer or drainage systems, thus no record of any as-built conditions at the Public Works Garage.  Most of the Water & Sewer Department’s (W&S Dept.) information was kept at the Pollards Mills Well shed and on the W&S Dept. utility trucks where they were susceptible to being lost and/or damaged.  In my first year here, I contacted one engineering firm and retrieved stamped as-built drawings for the 1967 town-wide water main replacement project.  It took several months to obtain these drawings.  Today, I’m proud of the Public Works Department archives/drawing room.  The Department now has a dedicated room with plan files for approximately two thousand drawings-all labeled and indexed.  This is an absolute must-have tool for any Public Works Department to operate efficiently.  In the summer of 2014, I obtained bids to electronically archive all the drawings on file.  After some contract negotiations, I presented the Town Manager with a contract proposal to convert all drawings to electronic format.  In the event of a fire, which might damage or destroy these drawings, the effort to research and replace all as-built drawings would be extremely costly and time consuming. 

Budgeting Issues:

As Public Works Director, I frequently look at Public Works Department budgets from a long term/trending perspective.  This year’s review provided some significant findings. 

For example, if we compare the Highway Department Operational Budgets over the last five years and then subtract the salaries (thus leaving just the dollars available for purchases), the numbers are as follows:

                        2010-2011 Highway Department Operational Budget          $381,894.00

                        2014-2015 Highway Department Operational Budget          $402,601.00   

                        Total Highway Department 5-Year Operational Budget Growth ($) =    $  20,707.00

                        Total Highway Department Operational Budget Growth (%)  =           5% over 5 years

                                                                                                                        (approximately 1%/year)

Now let’s examine some critical parts of the Highway Department Operational Budget over the same 5 years:


Material Costs               2010                            2015                        % Increase

Asphalt                        $60.00/Ton                  $75.00/Ton                        25%

Gravel                         $  6.57/Ton                  $  7.02/Ton                          7%

Salt                              $66.13/Ton                  $70.50/Ton                          7%

Winter Sand                $  4.50/Ton                  $  5.49/Ton                        22%


Repairs/Fuel Costs                                 2009                            2014                   % Increase

Fuel Expenditures                               $51,000.00                  $  81,858.00                     60%

Vehicle Maintenance Expenditures*           $58,832.00                  $120,570.00                   105%

*Repair costs = cost of parts (no labor) and subcontracted repairs.


Conclusion:  If costs continue to rise as they have in the past five years and the Highway Department budget increases at 1% per year, maintaining the Highway Department’s historical level of service will not be possible.


Municipal Parking Lot (MPL):

Town Manager Paul Brown, District II Engineer Doug King, Sullivan County Manager Jessie Levine, and the Director met to discuss a conceptual design of a realignment of Sunapee Street and a redesign of the County’s Municipal Parking Lot.  The Director began preparing conceptual plans with the Sunapee Street realigned and not realigned.



The Director assisted the Planning Board with review of the following proposed site plans/subdivisions:

            a)         Advance Auto

            b)         Wilder and Chavez on Bradford Road

            c)         Kibbey Garage and Annexation

            d)         LaValley Subdivision

            e)         Bremco Site

The Director performed annual evaluations on all Public Works Department staff with the assistance of the Department Superintendents.



Bid packages were prepared for:

            a)         Truck, cab and chassis

            b)         Truck body with attachments

Contracts were awarded to the low bidders which were:

            a)         Freightliners of NH

            b)         Viking-Cives  USA

The new truck (with body and attachments) is scheduled for delivery in 2015.

The Highway Department appreciates the voters support for the purchase of a new dump truck, plow, wing and a ground speed controlled sander.  Since their implementation in 1991, the computerized sanders have demonstrated their ability to reduce salt usage.


Staff Changes

Craig Sartwell was hired as Truck Driver/Equipment Operator to replace Brian Hubbard who left the department after 10 years of service.


Uniform Contract

The Director finalized 8 months of negotiations with Unifirst Corp and a contract was signed in September for the Public Works Department’s uniform service.

Larry A. Wiggins, P.E.
Director of Public Works/Town Engineer

  Town of Newport    15 Sunapee St    Newport, NH 03773  
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