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San Diego Targets Stormwater Runoff Via Street Sweeping and Dedicated Infrastructure

As one might imagine for a City that is located on a significant waterway – in this case the Pacific Ocean – the City of San Diego is very proactive in its sweeping program.

Eddie Salinas is the Interim Deputy Director of Operations and Maintenance for the Stormwater Department in the City of San Diego, California. WorldSweeper interviewed him about what San Diego is doing in terms of power sweeping to remove stormwater pollutants. Check out the information.

Street Sweeping: The First Line of Defense Against Stormwater Pollution

Street sweeping is listed as one of the available Best Management Practices (BMPs) for stormwater mitigation. However, due to lack of information on the relative cost-effectiveness of current sweepers to remove nitrogen (TN) and phosphorus (TP) – as well as sweeping's extraordinary cost-effectiveness in removing particulate matter (PM) in general – many, if not most, stormwater professionals tasked with runoff pollution removal do not currently utilize sweepers at the frequency indicated by now-available data.

The article, linked below, covers the essential elements of modern street sweeping and projects future BMP changes. Written by WorldSweeper's Editor, Ranger Kidwell-Ross, along with noted sweeper researcher, Roger Sutherland, it was the featured article in the October/November 2022 "sweeping issue" of PAVEMENT Maintenance & Reconstruction magazine. Check out the overview.

The Importance of Street Sweeping for Dust Pollution Abatement

Street sweeping is a leading BMP for dust abatement when conducted regularly in locations where collected small-micron dust can be an issue. This example from October 2022 in the Coachella Valley, CA, illustrates how serious the problem can be.

The data suggests that the benefits of street sweeping will be best realized by using the most sophisticated sweepers at a weekly to bimonthly frequency, depending on local conditions, with a careful assessment of whether certain rules such as restricted street parking prior to and during sweeping can be enforced. Check out the article.

Stormwater Best Management Practices in an Ultra-Urban Setting: Selection and Monitoring

The Federal Highway Administration offers a section on street sweeping as part of its Environmental Review Toolkit. This describes street sweeping as a best management practice for "reducing total suspended solids and associated pollutant washoff from urban streets."

The data suggests that the benefits of street sweeping will be best realized by using the most sophisticated sweepers at a weekly to bimonthly frequency, depending on local conditions, with a careful assessment of whether certain rules such as restricted street parking prior to and during sweeping can be enforced. Take a look.

Sweeping Survey Conducted With Eight U.S. Cities

In 2018 WorldSweeper invited the sweeping departments of 14 U.S. cities to participate in a survey designed to find out more about their respective sweeping programs. All of the cities invited had a population of from 560,000 to 810,000. Of the 14 invited, a total of eight ended up being willing and/or getting around to participating.

Our goal was to find out more about topics like sweeping budgets, parking restriction policies, day-of-sweeping notifications, mix of sweeper types used and more. Our intent was to share the information so as to allow other city sweeping departments to view the collated data. If you'd like to know more, use the link below to access the PDF file containing the survey results. Take a look.

Cleaning up After the San Francisco Pride March

San Francisco Pride is a parade and festival held at the end of June each year in San Francisco, California, to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their allies. The parade consists of hundreds of contingents from various groups and organizations. 2019 marked the 49th annual edition of the parade, which is described on the official website as "the largest gathering of LGBT people and allies in the nation." As you might imagine, the cleanup after the parade is quite an undertaking... Read the story.

Street Sweepers (Finally) Return to Philly: A Sign of Progress?

Philadelphia is the only major city without a comprehensive street sweeping program, following years of budget cuts and complaints about related parking regulations. Following a limited street cleaning pilot in 2020, the city committed $62 million over the next five years to boost mechanical sweeping and, last week, rolled out plans for the "phase two" pilot program that commenced in early August of 2021.

The latest city spending plan that took effect last month includes $62 million over five years for street cleaning. But Mayor Kenney's administration said the pandemic has slowed the timeline for expansion citywide. Read the story.

Denver's Street Sweeping Program Includes Technology Advances

Like many areas of the country, street sweeping in Denver is seasonal due to weather conditions. However, DPW does intermittent pavement scrubbing during the winter, weather permitting. Street sweeping typically runs April through November. Read the story.

Wilmington, Delaware, Launches Daily Employment Street Cleaning Program

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki has announced a new daily employment program for residents focused on cleaning city streets and neighborhoods. Says Mayor Purzycki, the newest component of Wilmington's "Beautiful City Initiative" attempts to solve two problems at once, by giving under-employed city residents work, and cleaning up neighborhoods throughout the city. Read the story.

Sweeper Sharing Can Help Maximize Resources

When the sweeper Sewickley Township had been leasing was no longer available, nearby Unity Township agreed to lease its Johnston air sweeper to them for 30 days at the unbeatable rate of $1. Read the story.

Best Practices for Sweeper Location Notification

Those tasked with reducing storm water runoff pollution are in widespread agreement that moving parked vehicles on sweeping days is critical to obtaining the best results. However, political considerations that stem from citizens are still a major deterrant to forced vehicle moving in many locales.

The following story about the Town of Canmore offers information about how GPS may be utilized to assist outreach to citizens on the topic of sweeper-caused parking restrictions. Includes 13.5-minute audio podcast interview with Canmore's sweeping manager. Read and hear the story.

Organizing an Educational 'Touch A Sweeper' Event

Sweeper awareness events can do much to educate your community about the many reasons why street sweeping is an important service. This sort of event can be even more important if you're trying to instigate and/or maintain a parked car removal program as part of your sweeping service.

In the U.S., one of the best times to schedule this type of event is in conjunction with the APWA's National Public Works Week, typically held in mid-May. The linked story outlines what some different towns in the U.S. do. Most all are called 'Touch A Truck.' Read about these events.

The Essentials of Workzone Safety for Street Sweeping Operations

When it comes to roadway vehicle safety, there's probably no one in America more qualified to speak on the topic than John Meola, who is Safety Manager for Invincia Insurance. Hear what he has to say about work zone safety as it applies to highway- and construction site-based sweeping operations. Read and hear the story.

Survey Results: Street Sweeping Vehicle Posting Criteria

As a result of a request by an official at the City of Richmond, Virginia, we sponsored a survey on how cities handle parking restrictions on the days a sweeper will be going down a residential (or other) street. Since we could not find any data that existed on the topic, we designed a survey to document what other cities do in that regard. Unfortunately, few municipality representatives took the few minutes necessary to fill out the survey so we only are able to provide a small snapshot of information on the topic. Read and hear the story.

An Historical Perspective on Privatization

Bill Kappel, Public Works Director for Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, was one of APWA's Top Ten Public Works Officials for 2009. Our article with Kappel, based on his 2009 APWA Congress and Exposition presentation. Included is a 25-minute, in-depth audio exchange with's editor, Ranger Kidwell-Ross, that discusses the pluses and minuses of privatizing an operation like street sweeping.

The information includes contemporary experiences and long-term trends in private, governmental, and mixed arrangements for the provision of public services and infrastructure. Read and hear the story.

Milling/Construction Sweeping

Our stories on milling and construction sweeping are located in a sub-section off the site's home page. Read the stories.

Cleaning Bicycle Lanes

With 153 centerline miles of bicycle lanes in the city, Portland, OR, has bicycle lane cleaning down to a science. Read the story.

L.A. County Sweeping Contractor Provides Private Sector Perspective

The head of L.A. County's Nationwide Environmental Services sweeping company discusses the public/private relationship when it comes to the provision of street sweeping services. Read the story.

An Alternative to Performance Bonds for Municipal Street Sweeping

This long-time street sweeping contractor has developed municipal bonding alternatives for street sweeping that create a win/win for all concerned. Read the story.

Roadway Sweeping and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation in Japan

Masatoshi Sakai is a member of Japan's 'lead agency' when it comes to roadway sweeping. He talks about how porous pavementis changing the face of sweeping in Japan. Read the story.

Anatomy of a Street Sweeper Rescue Effort

Because sweeper entrapments are rare, when they do occur they often task the efforts of rescue crews. Read the story.

Municipal Sweeping Equipment Costs

This list is designed to help you account for all the costs associated with purchase and operation of street sweepers. Read the story.

Determining the Cost of a Municipal Sweeping Program

In pricing municipal sweeping bids, even experienced contractors and municipal sweeping managers have been known to make mistakes. There are many factors to take into account, and in this article our editor discusses many of them. Read the story.

Lease Financing for Street Sweepers is for Municipalities, Too!

This equipment leasing specialist provides the lowdown on why sweeper leasing can be a good fit for municipalities and other public agencies. Read the story.

Municipal Street Sweeping: Which is Better, In-house or Contracted Out?

Four sweeping contractors discuss the pros and cons of public or private provision of street sweeping services. Includes comments on topic from former public works director. Read the story.

Choosing a Single Sweeper

If you're a big city, you can probably afford to buy a sweeper for one purpose only. However, when you're small you have to buy one that can do everything, including leaves. If that's you, here's what you should consider. Read the story.

Should Municipal Sweeping Services Be Contracted to Private Sweeping Contractors?

Privatizing your municipal street sweeping operation can be highly cost-effective. Read the story.

Sweeping in L.A. County -- Force Account or Private?

L.A. County Program Manager, Mark Caddick, discusses the merits of force account sweeping versus the use of private contractors. Read the story.

'The Pride of Lions' Gives Street Sweeping a New Twist

  • Tourist destination, Nashville, Indiana, has cleaner streets because of the volunteer efforts of the local Lions Club.

Getting Public Works Competitive With the Private Sector

This advice on ways to get and stay competitive is helpful to both public and private sector sweeping organizations. Read the story. Story Ideas? Design Team Info

Fundamentals of the Power Sweeping Business

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