Sweeping

Believe it or not, one way to reduce air and water pollution is to sweep it off the streets, typically using road sweepers. That's why the EPA recognizes street sweepers as a valuable tool in the fight against pollution

Sweeping & pollution control FAQ
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A: While there have been some inconclusive studies, recently there are both private and government studies that demonstrate compelling evidence that sweeping reduces pollution.
A: No, absolutely not. All sweepers remove fine particulates, and the ability to remove fine particles from the street surface has no direct connection to whether a sweeper has a filter system on it.
A: Read the claims closely - no manufacturer ever claims removal numbers even remotely close to this. What they claim is that filters mounted to the sweepers could remove particles of that size from the air. This applies to the filters, which are commercially available and used by any manufacturer.
A: All correctly functioning and operated sweeping technologies, including wet dust control mechanical sweepers, remove pollution. All modern Elgin Sweepers remove at least 85% and up to 97% of the pollutants typically found on the street.

A: There is no single answer to this question but here are some guidelines-

To help reduce water pollution utilizing sweepers:

  • Sweep prior to rain events
  • Sweep often
  • Sweep where the dirt is
  • Sweep dry to remove fines

 

To help reduce air pollution by sweeping: 

  • Choose sweepers with low emission engine
  • Sweep often - sweep dry to remove fines
  • Capture fugitive dust

 

Tips on sweeping for pollution control through sweeping:

  • Using a worn out or maladjusted sweeper, regardless of type, does not help and might even cause pollution.
  • Make sure that all sweepers are in serviceable condition and are being used as the manufacturer intended.

 

Tips on sweeping for pollution control

Sweeping with poor equipment is pretty much like lighting fires to burn away air pollution. It might appear to help but is actually making more.

A:

  • Sweeping is a storm water BMP. And the more you sweep, the more is removed.
  • Sweeping is a more cost effective means of removing debris than other storm water BMPs. 
  • Sweeping is a classic pollution prevention technique – removing pollutants before they enter storm water.  
  • Catch basin cleaning works but it is more work and a “last chance” proposition
  • There is sometimes a lack of understanding about how to use sweepers as a storm water BMP.
A:
  • Sweeping traditionally was/is to remove visible debris.
  • Public works officials are often judged by how the streets look compared to how much (or little was spent) 
  • Modern high efficiency sweepers cost more  
  • There is science and proper procedures in sweeping for storm water pollution control. It’s not complex and it’s not difficult, but it’s different than just making the street pretty.
  • There is a huge amount of misinformation concerning sweepers and sweeper use and pollution in general.
A:
  • We must educate the users in the proper techniques of how to remove storm water pollution with a sweeper.
  • We must educate the users that water pollution remediation and air pollution remediation require different techniques.
  • We must provide sweeping frequency guidance
  • We must help users understand that street sweeping can be used effectively as a storm water BMP in any situation -- the method of sweeping must be optimized for individual applications.
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