Public works departments provide public projects, maintenance of parks, buildings, roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, traffic signals, snow removal, public utilities, water treatment, and sewage. Many public works departments are also known as departments of public works or DPW. They address issues like traffic management as well as educating people about best practices in building construction.
These departments provide services based on the geography and weather conditions of the area. For example, in areas that receive snow, most public works departments are responsible for removing snow from city streets. In areas with warmer climates, repairing potholes and removing leaves may be required. In regions affected by with mosquitoes, public works departments take care of safely spraying to reduce bug bites.
One program that most public works departments handle is recycling. Some departments create curbside recycling programs. Others work with industrial recycling and waste-water recycling or even have temporary recycling programs during certain times of the year to collect leaves and Christmas trees. Public works departments can be responsible for issuing permits for special events, issuing parking tickets and maintaining public parking lots and garages.
There is only one type of public works department, but in different cities, the departments often have different names and responsibilities. For example, some departments are only responsible for infrastructure, like maintaining roads, sewers, trash and public parks. In other communities, public works departments have more responsibilities beyond caring for public infrastructure. Some work with social events and recreation, like local gun clubs and special festivals. Some also work with animal control and local airports.