Sunday, January 29, 2023        

Town Engineer & Sewer Authority Office


Kevin Cleary, Town Engineer & Environmental Affairs Officer

Kevin Cleary
Town Engineer & Environmental Affairs Officer

FUNCTION: The Town Engineer’s Office acts as the technical branch of the Town’s government reporting to the Town Manager. The main responsibilities of this office include: Planning Board and Zoning Board plan review, permitting and enforcement of the Soil Erosion, Special Flood Hazard Areas, Trees, Earth Removal, Outdoor Lighting, Landscape, Storm Sewer Ordinances and the Sewer Ordinance Rules & Regulations.

The Town Engineer administers the Flood Plain Management for the community and makes interpretations of the FEMA based community flood maps. Provide engineering design, drafting (CAD), cost estimates, specifications and construction inspection for various Town projects. Review all zoning site plans in conformance with the Town’s Zoning Ordinance. Provide inspections for all subdivisions and land developments requiring soil erosion approval. Perform limited topographical surveys for Public Works related projects. Perform construction management on projects assigned by the Town Manager. Develop Requests for Proposals (RFP) and bid documents for professional services and construction projects. Review plans for all road-opening permits on State highways.

The Town Engineer manages the administration of the Sewer Authority Office, serving as Superintendent. Authorizes sewer connection permits and plan proposals. All sanitary sewer program related capital improvements planning, budgeting and implementation. Maintain oversight of the operations & maintenance contract for the Sewer Authority’s contract operations service vendor and serve as program director for the Sewer Authority’s plan review and inspection service professional consultant.

The Town Engineer also maintain compliance with RIDEM Phase II Stormwater Management Program, overseeing a host of stormwater related objectives, annual activities, regulations and annual reporting requirements. Please see our Storm Water Management document for more information on public education and involvement.

The Town Engineer also administers the Streetlight Management Program for the community. All streetlight assets that are within the public right of ways and are operated by the Town are under the purview of this program. Please see the link below for more information on the Streetlight Management program and Outdoor Lighting requirements in the community.


Street Light Information


2021 FINAL Annual RIPDES Report (.pdf)

2020 Annual RIPDES Final Report(.pdf)

Stormwater TMDL for Dummies (.pdf)
This document is designed to help promote public education and the importance of understanding the Total Max Day Loadings associated with community stormwater and Smithfield offers you the PPT as a convenient tool to understand the complexity of stormwater related impairments to our local waterways.


Frequently Asked Questions

I applied for a building permit and the Building Official referred me to the Town Engineer, what do I need from the Engineering Department in order to get a building permit?
You are required to file a Soil Erosion Application prior to issuance of a building permit withi the Town of Smithfield. Additionally, large scale Residential, Commercial and Industrial construction all require approval under the review of the Town’s Landscape Ordinance.  File a Soil Erosion Application and a determination will be made if the project is applicable to the ordinance.  If it is applicable then we require a plan conforming to the soil erosion checklist.

You can download or view a Soil Erosion Application in Adobe Acrobat PDF format on the Forms page.

I am planning a construction project, what will I need before I start in order to get my building permit?
You may schedule a meeting between the Building Official and the Town Engineer to discuss what permits are required prior to issuance of a building permit.

I have an approved soil erosion plan for a subdivision and I am under construction. I have run into some problems, what do you suggest?
I will meet with you in the field to review the conditions.

I want to construct a building on a certain road within the town and I do not know what utilities are available?
The Town Engineer’s office will be able to assist which utilities may be available.  If sewers are available further assistance from the Engineering Department can be provided and further direction can be provided dependent on which water district you are in.  You should contact the respective utility company for natural gas, telephone, electric, cable, etc. for more detailed utility information.

A person next door to my house is cutting down trees.  Could you please come out to see what they are doing and do they have permission to do that?
Certainly, we can investigate certain activities and a resulting complaint to determine if ongoing activity requires issuance of a local permit.  If permits are required then we will stop the work until all permits are obtained, both local and state.

There has been blasting next door to my house and my whole house is shaking, do you know what is going on?
Copies of all State Fire Marshall issued blasting permits are recorded in the Town Clerk’s Office. 

I would like to tie into the sewers, what do I need to do?  
Please visit the Town Engineer’s Office/Sewer Authority to file a Sewer Connection Permit or you can obtain a copy online.  Make sure you get the instruction sheet also.  There are some requirements you need to be aware of that need to be included with your permit application.  If you are a resident that needs to tie into existing sewers, a simple permit should be all that you need.  If you are a business, new subdivision or private party that needs to tie in or extend a sewer, please set up a meeting with the Town Engineer.

You can download or view a Sewer Connection Application & Sewer Connection Requirements in Adobe Acrobat PDF format on the Forms page.

I would like to learn more about the Town’s Streetlight Program, what do I need to do? 

Please click on the link within this webpage to learn more about the impacts of lighting or the link to learn more about the Streetlight Program, its availability and resource information relative to streetlights the Town of Smithfield is responsible for maintaining.

My neighbor has a bright light shining at my property and it is very bothersome, what options do I have available to me as a resident?

The Town of Smithfield has a local Ordinance and Zoning Bylaws that may assist with outdoor lighting equipment and their uses relative to your concerns. 

Not all local laws apply to existing residential properties, but the Town can provide limited assistance in that regard.  In certain, extreme situations the matter may have to be resolved in a civil setting between the disagreeing parties.

All commercial, industrial, institutional and larger scale residential development projects are required to abide by the all the provisions within the Ordinance and Bylaws to prevent nuisance type issues from being problematic to begin with.  The Town can assist on these matters more definitively to remedy potential concerns our residents may have.

Why is Storm Water important and what should I know about it?

Stormwater, dollar for dollar is the most costly and common problem to resolve locally.  Many small, minor nuisance type problems relate from poor drainage conditions that occur.  Mitigating increases in runoff is important on any building development project, even as small as a residential building addition or paved parking driveway project.  Even these small projects have the ability to create nuisance flooding issues to neighbors, local streams and small roadway drainage systems.

It is important to manage stormwater to minimize flooding and reduce the introduction of pollutants into our storm drainage systems, local rivers and ponds.  Stormwater in Smithfield does not get sent to some special treatment plant, as some individuals may believe.  Stormwater ends up in our local ponds, lakes and streams and has the potential to bring all the pollutants that are on the roadway surfaces.

Fertilizers, petroleum based chemicals, metals, sediments, solid waste, biowastes (animal waste) and many other pollutant types can end up in the places we cherish to swim and fish in.  That is why it is important to be cognizant of our activities which occur on the land surface and minimize out impacts we create.

Please refer to the many common resource materials on the left side pallet of this webpage for more information on proper storm water management.