The Public Works Department moved to its current location at 110 Santa Fe Pike in July of 1996. The new facility is named for a previous Sanitation Director, E. T. Frierson.

Vision: The City of Columbia's Public Works Department will be one of the top professional Public Works organizations in the state. Our projects will play a vital role in maintaining a good quality of life for the citizens of Columbia.

Mission: Provide the citizens of Columbia with safe and accessible transportation and drainage infrastructure, and provide efficient disposal of commercial and household waste.

The Department

Administration organizes, delegates, supervises, and evaluates all service areas of the department in an effective and efficient manner. This involves: Annual budget preparation, work planning and scheduling, project supervision, and developing operational procedures.

The Streets and Maintenance Division is responsible for the maintenance of 240 miles of city streets and rights of way. The staff performs a variety of demanding and diverse maintenance services involving pavement maintenance, snow and ice removal, sidewalk and curb replacement, street sweeping, litter control, and other functions. They also repair storm drains, which includes small to major maintenance projects, and clean storm drainage channels, culverts, grates, and catch basins.

The Traffic Division provides and maintains traffic control devices for the safe and orderly movement of vehicles on City streets. This involves the installation of traffic signs and signals, plus the maintenance of visible lane markings and crosswalks.

The Fleet Maintenance Division repairs City vehicles and equipment and coordinates the use of contract services for fleet maintenance and repairs. This activity may involve minor to major repairs. The city garage is responsible for the repair and maintenance of all City vehicles and equipment including backhoes, loaders, street sweepers, tractors, and a dozer.

The Sanitation Division collects residential and commercial garbage and other refuse on a scheduled basis (see below). This service is performed for approximately 13,000 residences and 1,200 businesses.

Trash Collection
Household trash and garbage is collected on a weekly basis throughout the City. Commercial collection is by agreement, and the fee is based on the number of scheduled pick-ups at the business.

Bulky Item Collection

The Public Works Department will collect bullky items each Monday in one Council Ward. Schedules are mailed to residences periodically, but they can be viewed on the city's website, or requested or picked up at the Public Works Department at 110 Santa Fe Pike or by calling (931) 388-8650.

Bulky items will be collected on Monday, but they must be scheduled with the Sanitation office by 2 p.m. on the preceding Friday. No collections will be added after that time or while the trucks are working their routes. Special arrangements must be made for large amounts of bulky items (See Special Pickups).

Public Works will not collect:

Electronic items - televisions, computers, etc.

Demolition debris - rocks, dirt, tree stumps, wall board or plaster, bricks, building scraps, etc.

Refrigerant items - refrigerators, air conditioners, or anything charged with freon or other gases

These items may be taken to the Maury County landfill located at 1233 Lawson White Drive, Columbia, TN 38401.

Brush Collection

The Sanitation Department will collect brush Tuesday through Friday in the same ward scheduled for bulky item collections. Special arrangements must be made for extra loads of brush.

The brush and tree collection program is for the removal of routine yard trimmings from residences. The program is not for the removal of trees or brush cut from:

Commercial tree contractors or landscapers

Lot clearances, excavation projects, or other demolition projects

Brush and leaves cannot be mixed with other material, such as household trash, furniture, or construction material. Brush or trees must be cut in lengths of 4 foot or less. Tree stumps must be cut to these lengths or ground.

Special Pickups

Items requiring an extra load or not on a scheduled collection day are considered as special pickups. Any specially arranged or extra load will be charged an additional $50.00 per each additional load. A deposit will be required in advance of the pickup.

The Sanitation Department will not pick up any large loads not coordinated in advance or while the trucks are working their normally scheduled routes. The Sanitation Director will develop schedules during these days. No special collections will be scheduled on holidays or during leaf collection season.

Public Works Snow and Ice Control Program

The average winter season snowfall for Middle Tennessee is around 10 inches spread over 4 to 5 months. Although snow and ice is not a major problem compared to other regions of the country, snow and/or ice storms have the same effect on the motoring public whenever or wherever they occur.

The Public Works Department is charged with the task of clearing streets during snow, and/or ice emergencies. Snow or ice operations involve many hours of work no matter how large or small. City crews usually work around the clock to maintain thoroughfares during the storm, and then start cleaning other streets after the last flakes have fallen.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is responsible for most major thoroughfares in Columbia (typically four lane roads).

In order to clear streets in a timely and efficient manner, plowing or salting must be done in an orderly fashion. Trucks that shift from street to street, usually achieve nothing, but will guarantee that some areas will be missed.

During snow and/or ice storm a truck assigned to each Council Ward for the duration of the storm, but the following system of priorities are followed:

Priority #1

Priority 1 streets includes all thoroughfares first, and then collector streets. This system of de-icing provides a treated or plowed street within a few blocks of all residential streets in the City. During snow, and/or ice storms these streets are continuously treated until they are cleared.

Priority #2

Priority 2 streets are all residential streets in the City. When all major thoroughfares and collectors streets are cleared, Street Division trucks will begin in residential areas if needed. Truck will usually only clear the middle of the street in residential areas. This gives a clear lane for cars to drive on and prevents piles of snow at the end of driveways.

Note: Residential snow and ice removal is a recent service for Columbia. It is not a service normally provided in most cities in Tennessee. Most of the time it takes more than one pass to clear streets.


Not everyone can be first. All streets will eventually get done before the snow or ice operations have ended. Clearing streets usually takes 8 to 12 hours after the last snowflakes have fallen. Ice or sleet clean can add 10 or more hours to this process.


Improve the delivery of services by the Public Works Department to the citizens of the City of Columbia.

Strategy 1
Convert all the flashers (school or warning) from wire electric powered to solar electric powered.

Strategy 2
To upgrade, replace and provide conformity to traffic and way-finding signs, so that they meet the MUTCD and are more aesthetically pleasing throughout the community.

Strategy 3
To conclude traffic system evaluation, develop a program for traffic signal cabinet modifications and upgrades. Continue the upgrade of traffic signal lights with LED modules.

Strategy 4
Improve the routing and efficiency of sanitation operations by installing vehicle locations units (AVL) on each collection unit.



Ken Donaldson
Ken Donaldson