Utilities Department

Welcome to the Department of Public Works
The Department of Public Works ensures that the operations of the sanitary sewer and public drinking water meet all the requirements of state and federal law. The DPW maintains sixteen sewage lift stations and approximately seventy miles of sewer mains as well as three municipal wells and twenty-four miles of water mains. During the summers we clean about one-third of the sewer mains to ensure proper operation the year around. In the fall of each year, we flush the water system in order to clean mains and supply fresh water to our customers.

Water Quality Report for Niles Charter Township 
We are pleased to present the annual report summarizing the quality of the drinking water provided to you during the past year. This “Consumer Confidence Report” is required by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). It tells you where your tap water comes from, what our tests show about it and includes other things you may wish to know about.

Important Information Regarding Sewer System
Many household cleaning products, baby wipes, adult personal hygiene products, and towelettes are labeled
and marketed as DISPOSABLE and/or FLUSHABLE, and “SAFE FOR SEWER AND SEPTIC.”  While these products may be marketed as a convenience item, the truth is that these household wipes DO NOT break down when compared to traditional toilet paper and as a result have caused major blockages in sewer systems and pump stations.  They can cause blockages in your on-site sewer, especially older pipelines that may have greases, roots, or other obstructions already existing.  A repair of the on-site sewer line can leave the homeowner or business owner with a very costly sewer repair.

On a larger scale, when these products make their way into the public sewer system they collect together and cause clogs in the Township’s sewer main lines and get tangled in pump stations requiring repair or possibly even expensive replacement of equipment.

The following items should NEVER be flushed into the sewer system.  Place them in the trash, not the toilet:                                                                     

  • ANY Moist Type Towelettes        
  • Baby Wipes
  • Disinfecting/Surface Wipes
  • Cosmetic Wipes
  • Jewelry Wipes
  • First Aid Wipes
  • Pet Care Wipes
  • Flushable Wipes
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Condoms
  • Mop or "Swiffer" Type Refills
  • Paper Towels or Napkins
  • Cotton Swabs/Q-tips
  • Disposable Diapers or Diaper Liners
  • Cloth (clothes, cloth diapers, socks, towels/wash cloths)
  • Bio-Pads (nursing home, home health care, etc.)
  • Toilet Cleaning Pads

Pharmaceuticals Getting into the Environment: A Growing Concern

Prescription and non-prescription drugs are becoming a growing concern as more of them are being detected in the United States rivers and waterways. Pharmaceuticals in water are an area of growing scientific interest because the long-term effect on animals and people is largely unknown. The United States Geological Survey found that 80 percent of the watersheds sampled nationally contained at least one type of pharmaceutical chemical.

The Environmental Protection Agency feels the importance of individuals adding pharmaceutical chemicals to the environment has been largely overlooked. During the last three decades, the focus of chemical pollution has focused almost exclusively on pollutants such as metals (lead, silver, etc.), pesticides (DDT, Diazinon, etc.) or gasoline and its by-products. The occurrence of pharmaceutical drugs in the environment has only recently become a main focus, which is due in some part to improvements in analytical testing methods for many of these drugs.

People add pharmaceutical chemicals to the environment when unused or expired medications are flushed down a toilet or washed down a sink. For most of us, we have been trained to get rid of our old or unwanted drugs by doing this. This practice evolved partly from our desire to keep potentially dangerous drugs out of the hands of others, especially children. However, this practice is probably the least environmentally method of disposing of old or unwanted drugs.

When these drugs enter the sewage system, they go to the local wastewater treatment facility. Wastewater treatment facilities, however, are not designed or equipped to “filter out” these chemicals. Once these drugs leave a house there is a very real chance of them entering our nation’s waterways. The good news for now is that the concentrations of these drugs that are being found are extremely low. However, it is important to understand the proper and environmentally safe way to dispose of pharmaceuticals.

In February 2007, the Office of National Drug Control Policy issued federal guidelines for proper disposal of prescription drugs. They are as follows: Take unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs out of their original containers and throw them in the trash. Mixing prescription drugs with an undesirable substance such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter and putting them in impermeable, non-descript containers such as empty cans or a sealable bag will further ensure the drugs are not diverted. Flush prescription drugs down the toilet only if the label specifically instructs doing so.

Consumers should take advantage of community pharmaceutical take-back programs or community solid waste programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Where these exist, they are a good way to dispose of unused pharmaceuticals.

Storm Water Sites to Visit