Nesto and the DPW are prepared for winter’s assault

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Although it is not in the weather forecast, if it snows this weekend, Bloomfield resident fear not: Anthony Nesto, the director of the Department of Public Works and Parks, has already been visited by the apparition of Old Man Winter.

“We’re preparing like it’s going to snow tomorrow,” Nesto said this week.
Getting ready for winter began in August for the DPW. Nesto gives Lou Siciliano, the yard supervisor, “and unofficial No. 1 guy,” and Joe Condito, who oversees the operation of vehicles being prepared for the winter, a lot of the credit.

“We went over all the vehicles,” Nesto said. “We checked the plows, pumps, hoses, the weld on the blades.”

The spinners on the salters were inspected for a clean operation.
There are about 30 plows in the fleet, Nesto said, plus four loaders used to cart away snow that accumulates in parking lots and cul-de-sacs.

Ten of the 30 trucks used for plowing are considered big dump trucks. Eight of these big dump trucks are used as salters, too. “We got a big truck and a loader last year,” Nesto said.
Money earmarked in the 2016 budget will be providing two more big dump trucks in 2017.
“We have two smaller dump trucks, called ‘mason trucks,’” Nesto said. “They have salters on the back and are mostly used in Halcyon Park and on the smaller streets.”

Nesto is like a general preparing for battle. He has his artillery — the trucks — and an army.
“Right now, there is a total of 50 people that could work outside,” he said. “Fifteen are part-timers. Out of the 50, six to eight are not plowing. They maintain walkways. Everybody becomes part of the snow unit.”

The DPW also helps out with the snow removal in handicap parking spaces.
“Nothing official policy,” Nesto said. “It’s just what we do.”
Nesto also has ammunition to use.

“We have 250 tons of salt,” he said. “That would salt Bloomfield’s 405 streets twice.”
Additional salt is obtained from Essex County through a shared-services agreement. Nesto said the township gets 300 tons a year because the Bloomfield DPW picks up leaf bags on county roads. The county salt is kept in Branch Brook Park.

“We also have to buy salt privately, “ he said.
The privately purchase salt is about $53/ton, he said.
Brine will also be used again this year.

“When we know the snow is coming, without rain first, and it is going to be 3 to 4 inches, we’ll brine,” Nesto said.

A preliminary winter forecast from WeatherWorks, a service which is used by the DPW, indicates that the season will be an especially cold one in the Northeast after the mild 2015-2016 winter. The forecast is also for above-average snowfall and although a major storm cannot be ruled out, the 2016-2017 winter is unlikely to produce a blockbuster storm in this area of the country.

With winter on the radar, Nesto said his biggest request to Bloomfield residents is to get their cars off the streets when it snows. “The less cars on the street, the better we can plow your roads,” he said. “It’s a simple equation.”