PEPPERELL -- DPW Director Kenneth Kalinowski announced to the Board of Public Works that his department has re-established the position of assistant wastewater treatment plant operator. The action was taken in consultation with Town Administrator John Moak and representatives of the DPW union. This followed the resignation of a heavy equipment operator/laborer at the wastewater treatment facility last month.

According to Kalinowski, the new position, which replaces that vacated role, will enable hiring a "slightly higher caliber person." Both the union representatives and the town agreed with Kalinowski's assessment that the new position "allows for creation of a more transparent career path" for the new hire.

"The licensing requirements and the duties I think far better match what we expect will be the upcoming tasks and duties for that person," he said.

Kalinowski announced the promotion of Bob Pearson to fill the role recently created by the retirement of wastewater treatment facility operator Ed Nadeau.

"We're pleased that Bob has chosen to continue his career here in Pepperell and we certainly look forward to his sharing his knowledge with the new employees both now and in the years to come," said Kalinowski.

Kalinowski also announced the hiring of Jason Bartleson as a water system operator. The Pepperell native will join the department on Jan. 7.

In addition, Joshua Chapman was promoted to foreman. Chapman, who served four years in the Marines, has five years of drinking water experience in Lunenburg and has been with the Pepperell DPW since July.

The Highway Department was well-prepared for the first two winter storms of the season.

"We weathered the first two major snow events of the season in reasonably good shape," said Kalinowski, who noted that some damage occurred to the department's backhoe, as well as some plow damage due to frost heaves.

The wet, heavy snow of the second storm contributed to mailbox damage in the Hadley Estates neighborhood. Although the plows did not come in contact with the mailboxes, snow pushed by the plows along the edge of the roadway caused damage to the more fragile "ornamental" mailboxes.

"The cast aluminum delicate arms and that wet snow just took out four or five of them. The granite's still there, the wooden posts are still there, the Rubbermaid boxes are also still there," said Kalinowski.

"We believe we can adjust our snow-removal efforts in that area to minimize the damage to those structures," he said.

Kalinowski advised the board that proposals for a solar farm at the Boynton Street landfill site were due to the town not later than 3 p.m. on Jan. 10.

The board approved a water-abatement request in the amount of $50.40 for 9 West St. and a sewer-abatement request from the town of Groton for $173.81. The latter was due to two weekdays being billed as weekend days.