Public Works News

Jul 2010

Dixon Water Rates and Water Quality Information

For information on the City of Dixon's Water Rates and Water Quality, please click here.
Feb 2010

Dixon water upgrades make the grade

Dixon water upgrades make the grade
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815-2842224, ext. 526, Sauk Valley Newspapers

DIXON – Water contamination notices are a thing of the past: The city’s efforts to purify its well water have brought it in compliance with Illinois EPA requirements, said Shawn Ortgiesen, director of Dixon Public Works. The work isn’t done – two well water filter systems have been rebuilt, two others are in the process, and two more are on deck.  Read more...

May 2009

Dixon Water Department - Building, Operating, Maintaining

In line with the Mission Statement for the City of Dixon’s Public Works, the Dixon Water Department strives to serve the best water possible for the citizens of Dixon, in building, operating, and maintaining the complex potable water system throughout the community.  The system includes wells, towers, pumps, tanks, hydrants, water mains, and a reservoir.  Heading up the department is Superintendent Rusty Cox who supervises both office and field operations. 

The Water Department has two positions that are a little unique when compared to the other departments in the City of Dixon’s Public Works.  The first is a General Foreman that leads the operations in the field.  This position is held by Jerry Carlson.  The second position is Office Manager that leads the operations for the Water Department located at City Hall.  This position is held by Dawn Griswold.  Michelle Wolfe assists Office Manager Griswold in the office operations.  Helping customers, communicating with field personnel, calling in JULIES (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators) and handling the financial side of the operations are just a couple of the vast number of duties assigned to the office staff.

Servicemen Roy Jones and Matt Huyett collect data for the office staff as well as locate the watermain for numerous JULIES that are called in during digging activities throughout the city.  Jim Miller is the foreman for the distribution team in charge of watermain installation and repair.  Foreman Miller is assisted by Dennis Hendricks, Mike Wagner, and Terry Dewey as operators and laborers in the field.  This group is called on for expanding the watermain system throughout the city and also for watermain breaks that unfortunately occur.  The City of Dixon is an older community with a number of mains that have been used for many years.

The water plant is located at the intersection of River Street and Artesian Avenue.  Along with a reservoir and a maintenance shed, the water plant includes a laboratory that is staffed by Matt Heckman as Chief Analyst and Leanne Rogers.  This staff completes testing required by the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure the quality of water meets or exceeds drinking water standards.

The City of Dixon Water Department is in the process of constructing water treatment facilities for each of the wells that has had testing levels above the drinking water standards.  The construction is being completed in three phases with the first phase being complete and online.  The second phase will be under construction shortly with the third phase going out for bid later this year.

The City of Dixon Water Department is supplied by groundwater from seven wells at depths ranging from 1600 to 1800 feet.  These seven wells serve five water towers and one reservoir.  Two wells are located on the north side of the Rock River and five are located on the south side.  The system also includes a hydro pneumatic tank and two booster pump stations.  This entire water distribution system, working efficiently through the employees that build, maintain, and operate it,  provides a total capacity of  12,000,000 gallons of water per day serving the City of Dixon well.

May 2009

Dixon Wastewater Treatment Facilities Department - Underground Since 1930

The City of Dixon Wastewater Treatment Facilities Department operates and maintains the complex treatment system for wastewater in the City of Dixon and the surrounding area.  The most visible part of this system is the wastewater treatment facility located at 2600 West Third Street.  This treatment facility was built in 2000 and is fully compliant with state and federal regulations.  The treatment site was built using a 20-year design with an assumed population of 20,050 in Year 2020.  The incoming flow capacity is 32.6 million gallons per day and the outgoing peak instantaneous flow is 18 million gallons per day and 12,500 gallons per minute.  The average 20-year design outgoing flow is 4.5 millions gallons per day and 3,125 gallons per minute.


The treatment plant treats waste from residential, commercial, and industrial sources.  When a toilet is flushed, a shower is running, dishwater and washing machines are drained, etc., the flow is sent through service pipes to sanitary sewer mains located beneath the city streets.  A series of mains of increasing sizes flow by gravity to the treatment facility.  Lift stations are placed in low areas that cannot be served by gravity.  In these areas, a pump is placed in the system to lift the waste to a higher level.  The waste then either travels by gravity again or is forced to the plant in a closed system.  There are currently seven lift stations located throughout the community.  Each lift station has an alarm system installed with an emergency call out system.  Once the wastewater reaches the plant located on West Third Street, the wastewater is lifted to an elevation that allows it to flow by gravity throughout the rest of the plant.  For a detailed explanation of the treatment process, please visit the Wastewater Treatment section under the Public Works area of the City of Dixon website (


There are nearly 80 miles of sanitary sewer main located throughout the City of Dixon.  These mains are maintained by the staff of the Wastewater Treatment Facilities Department using a combination jetter/vacuum sewer cleaning machine.  A camera that can travel through the mains is also used to determine the cause of failures and clogs.  All of our employees are trained to use confined space safety equipment when needing to enter sanitary manholes for access to the system.


The Wastewater Treatment Facilities Department is led by Superintendent Dan Mahan.  His experience and knowledge of the entire wastewater system for the City of Dixon serves the community well.  Assisting Superintendent Mahan in the operation and maintenance of the complex wastewater system is Foreman Tim Stover, Class I Operator Tim Love, and Class III Operator Josh McNitt.  Their efforts have been recognized with nominations for state awards for treatment facilities.  Through their dedication and hard work, the Wastewater Treatment Facilities Department will continue to serve the city well. 


May 2009

Dixon Street Department - Not Just Filling Potholes

If you drive the streets in the City of Dixon, there are a number of locations that are in need of repair.  As there are miles and miles of streets in the city, properly maintaining the roadways is a great financial commitment.  The City of Dixon continuously looks for better and more cost efficient ways to maintain our streets as funding is always an issue.  Motor Fuel Tax dollars are the primary source in purchasing the materials required for maintaining and also reconstructing the roadways through contracts.  Streets are much more than just pavement.  The maintenance responsibilities include curb, gutter, sidewalks, parkways, trees, and drainage systems. 

 The City of Dixon has a major initial investment in city streets.  As the city grows, the miles of streets increase.  Just take a look at a city map and you can see the number of streets and alleys throughout the community.  The Dixon Street Department has the important responsibility of maintaining this vast system. Much of what the Street Department deals with is drainage issues.  After heavy rains, inlets and storm sewers can become filled with debris.  These inlets and storm sewers then need to be cleaned and debris removed so that storm water can flow properly.

 In the summer, a primary responsibility is crack sealing.  There's nothing more damaging to streets than moisture in the pavement.  Water can get in a crack and travel through the pavement to the sub-grade causing the upper surface to break up.  To prevent this from happening, street department crews spend time filling cracks with a joint sealer.  Some of the cracks are too wide to fill with crack sealer and need to be filled in with a patching mixture.  When the streets get too broken up, they need to be replaced with new pavement.  In the winter time, a major responsibility is snow removal.  Each worker is responsible for a particular section of Dixon.  Using plows and salt spreaders, the city streets are typically cleared in short order.

 Another responsibility of the street department is the sidewalk program.  This program is a partnership between the Street Department and city residents. City crews remove and replace residential sidewalks.  The homeowner shares part of the financial responsibility for their section.  A number of sidewalks throughout the city have been replaced through this program.

 A nice partnership has developed between the Dixon Street Department and the Tree Commission.  Mike Devine, one of the Street Department employees, serves on this commission.  This provides direct communication between the Street Department and the Tree Commission.  The Tree Commission's goal is to plant new trees throughout the city while properly maintaining the more mature trees throughout the community.

 Last year Federal dollars were used to reconstruct Boyd Street from Brinton Avenue to Jefferson Avenue.  This project included new curb and gutter, sidewalk, pavement, and upgrades to the storm sewer system.  Another roadway that was built last year was an extension of Tollway Drive to the south of Bloody Gulch Road.  This project was built and paid for by the contractor that constructed Tractor Supply Company.  Like most residential and commercial developments, upon completion of the roadway construction, these streets are dedicated to the City of Dixon, thus increasing the maintenance responsibilities for the Street Department.

This summer, Lincoln Avenue from 3rd Street to 1st Street will be reconstructed using Motor Fuel Tax funds.  This new construction will include curb, gutter, and storm sewer that will connect to newer roadway improvements north and south of the project limits.  Motor Fuel Tax funds will also be used for a storm sewer project east of Jefferson Avenue from Bradshaw Street to north of McKenney Street.  In the summer of 2010, the City of Dixon will be using funds received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to reconstruct South Hennepin Avenue (Reagan Way) from 3rd Street to River Street.  This project will continue similar themes from the Heritage Crossing Riverfront Project including period lighting, trees, benches, sidewalks using pavers and other special amenities.

 Handling the maintenance of the newly constructed streets along with properly maintaining the older sections of roadways takes a staff of dedicated employees.  Led by Superintendent Mike Stichter, this department operates as efficiently as funding will allow.  Resurfacing and reconstructing the vast number of deteriorating streets is a desire shared by all, but can only be completed as funds become available.  In the mean time, the street department cleans, sweeps, and repairs the roadways as needed.  Working with Superintendent Stichter in this endeavor is Foreman Jim Canterbury, Heavy Equipment Operator Steve Weidman, Mechanic Skip Willett, and Street Maintenance Specialists Mike Devine, Ed Ryan, Ryan Haenitsch, and John Sheridan.  The Street Department is committed to the City of Dixon in maintaining not just the pavements in our community, but the entire roadway system including curb, gutter, sidewalks, parkways, trees, and drainage systems.  As the city grows, their dedication and commitment will continue to grow as well.

May 2009

Dixon Public Property Department - A Department with a Caring Touch

The City of Dixon Public Property Department maintains and cares not only for the buildings and property in Dixon, but also its people.  One of the main duties for personnel in the Public Property Department is to operate, maintain, and care for Oakwood Cemetery located at 416 South Dement Avenue.  What comes along with this important responsibility is the caring for grieving families and friends.  Superintendent Curt Phillips along with cemetery workers Martin Swegle and Matt Moeller meet with citizens for anything from securing the purchase of a family lot to assisting in burials to assisting in stone monument preparations.


Memorial Day is a special time in Oakwood Cemetery when American flags line the streets throughout the cemetery.  Public Property workers spend many hours mowing and trimming Oakwood for families, friends, and veterans to enjoy and remember. Other items that are maintained by the city workers at Oakwood Cemetery include a mausoleum, a maintenance shed, numerous streets, and water lines.


The responsibilities of the Public Property Department extend far beyond Oakwood Cemetery.  Every piece of land and structure that is not part of one of the other city departments is tended to by the Public Property workers.  These areas include all city parking lots, the city boat dock, parkways along state highways, city owned grass lots, and a number of detention areas.


The Public Property Department also hangs flags, petunia baskets, wreaths and other decorations on light poles throughout the City of Dixon.  In the winter time, the employees remove snow and salt all public parking lots and the sidewalks on the bridges.  In the summer time, Public Property workers prepare the vast number of petunia beds for planting and take care of the watering after planting.  Others areas of responsibility include the maintaining and painting of railings and also the removal of vandalism from city owned areas.


As the city grows, the responsibilities of the Public Property Department expand as well.  The goal of this department is to plan for and seek better ways in maintaining the large investments made to our community while at the same time faithfully taking care of the valuable resources we, the City of Dixon, already have.

May 2009

Dixon Public Works - Always There for You

Public Works in the City of Dixon is comprised of men and women serving together through four departments – Public Property, Street, Water, and Wastewater Treatment Facilities.  Public Property, Wastewater Treatment, and the operations side of the Water Department are led by Commissioner Colleen Brechon, the financial side of the Water Department is led by Commissioner David P. Blackburn, and the Street Department is led by Commissioner Jeff Kuhn.  These three Commissioners along with Mayor James G. Burke and Public Health & Safety Commissioner Dennis Considine set forth the policies in the City of Dixon under which the Public Works departments operate. 


Public Property, Street, and Wastewater Treatment Facilities are all represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union 722 and the Water Department is represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 196.  The dedicated men and women of these four departments and two unions work together to help Dixon plan, build, construct, operate and maintain the streets, sewer, water and city owned property.  From water main breaks to sewer main clogs to debris removal to snow plowing to a number of other important and necessary duties, the employees of the Public Works in the City of Dixon are available and needed all day, every day, every night, and every moment.


Much of what is done in Public Works is underground, not seen, and not thought about every day by residents until there is a problem.  When potable water is not flowing (or is flowing up into the street due to a main break) or if someone cannot flush their toilet, then people think about what is underground.  The Public Works departments in the City of Dixon think about these things every day so others don’t have to.


The Mission of the City of Dixon’s Public Works is to provide the best service possible for the citizens of Dixon, Illinois in building, operating, and maintaining the infrastructure in the City of Dixon including water, wastewater, streets, and public property.

Dec 2008

Arsenic in city well exceeds EPA standards

By Sarah Owen, Sauk Valley Newspapers

DIXON - Water problems that have beleaguered the city for years resurfaced last week when officials notified residents that contaminant levels violate Environmental Protection Agency standards.

The amount of arsenic in municipal water is not much higher than it always has been, but the EPA last January lowered the acceptable level, said Willard "Rusty" Cox, Water Department superintendent.

Read full article. . .

Nov 2008

City engineer earns professional award

By SVN News Service, Sauk Valley Newspapers

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Society of Professional Engineers has awarded Shawn Ortgiesen, PE, PTOE, of Dixon, the 2008 ISPE Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the engineering profession in Illinois.

Read more: City engineer earns professional award

Visiting Dixon - Find a great place to staymap-teaser

How Downtown Dixon Has Changed Since 2000


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