Equipment and Technology: What Some Top Power Sweeping Operations are Putting to Good Use

Sweeper trucks, equipment, and other related technologies are at the heart of every power sweeping business. We talked with a few sweeping operations and businesses to see what equipment they have invested in and are using on a daily basis to make their operations and companies successful.

Longview Public Works
We spoke with Mr. Leroy Brooks, Streets and Drainage Manager of Longview, Texas who has been in charge of the city’s street sweeping and catch basin cleaning operations for the past 10 years, With a total of a few hundred miles of streets, avenues and major thoroughfares, including 2 Interstate highways, and 4 State highways, , there is a lot of street sweeping and catch basin cleaning to be done on a regular basis. Mr. Brooks is in charge of 12 municipal employees.
Longview Public Works makes use of a total of 5 sweeper trucks, 2 Schwarze A7 Tornados and 3 Tymco Model 600s. These sweeper trucks are put to good use, especially in the fall, when gutters and street curbs fill with leaves rather than just dirt and debris. “Because leaves and pinecones are light but bulky, and often times bunch-up, they are sometimes difficult for some sweepers but we find that our Schwarze A7 Tornados’ vacuum-driven operations are good for picking up materials like pinecones and straw,” Mr. Brook explains. As far as heavier debris is concerned Mr. Brooks says that “the Tymco 600s have heavy-duty brooms that are good for breaking up debris that is stuck or dried up.” So, during the leaf falling season the Longview Streets and Drainage Department “tries to schedule our Schwarze trucks to sweep in areas where there is a large amount of pine trees, and then use the Tymco trucks for the leaves.” “We use both broom and air model sweepers and both work good for gutter sweeping” Mr. Brooks explains, continuing “we also take advantage of both the air/water treatment and vacuum treatment.” He says that “our Schwarze and Tymco Regenerative Air Sweepers work well for us, and they deliver very thorough, very deep cleaning at a low cost for the taxpaying citizens of our town.”

Catch-basin Cleaning
“Because we have to combine street sweeping with catch basin cleaning” says Mr. Brooks, “we need to have the ability to lift leaves, silt, sand, gravel and litter out of the catch basin.” “We have to clean the catch basins on a regular basis in order to prevent streets from flooding and it also keeps the rain run-off in check” he says. “For all of our catch basin cleaning we use an International 7400 with GapVax combination jet/vacs” he explains. “This truck is specifically designed just for the kind of comprehensive catch basin program we operate” says Mr. Brooks, “and since we clean at least 15 catch basins a week, we need a machine that can do that kind of work” he adds. “Our GapVax 2009 International 7400 chassis is double-axle with Allison automatic transmission, air brakes, and the tank is a unitized water and debris tank.” The water tank part is constructed from stainless steel and the debris tank part is carbon steel construction. It has a 12 cubic yard debris tank and 1,300 gallon water capacity. The high-pressure hose and jetter system is reel-mounted and can be used with or without vacuum power. Our “GapVax telescoping boom provides 10 ft. extension, a full 26 ft. reach, and an 8 in. suction hose, and also includes a 180 degree rotation operation” concludes Mr. Brooks.
The Longview, Texas Department of Public Works operates a first-class municipal street sweeping and catch-basin cleaning operation. For more information about the fine work this municipal organization does, please visit their website at:

Sweep It Clean
Dave and Laura Pople own and operate Sweep It Clean, One of El Paso Texas’s largest power sweeping operations.
Sweep It Clean has a fleet of 4 Tymco 210 regenerative air sweepers, and 2 Tennant midsize mechanical broom sweepers. They take advantage of having two different kinds of sweepers, using the Tymco 210s for the bulk of their work and bringing in the 2 Tennant sweepers for detail work. Explaining how they make the decision to use which sweeper, Dave tells us that “how many and what type we use on each job is determined by the size of the job, the type/quantity of debris and the customers’ objectives.” He informs us that “the 210s have Isuzu cabs that have automatic transmissions and use unleaded fuel, both in the Isuzu motor as well as the rear Kubota auxiliary engine that drives the sweeper aspects. We do not use the heavier gutter brooms, but rather the lighter side brooms that help to increase the effectiveness of the pickup head.” A slight modification to the sweeper trucks is the addition of extra lights. “We basically just added more spotlights to the side and rear of the trucks to give the drivers better views and we added flashing lights on top of the cabs so they can be seen better.”
The Poples chose their sweepers for strategic reasons. As Dave explains “when starting our business we consulted a sweeping contractor in a comparable city nearby, Albuquerque, NM and we discovered that they used Tymco 210s. In doing our research, we came to the conclusion that these were the industry standard for the area. Plus, the fact that they were manufactured in Waco, Texas made it easy for us to decide on Tymco because we like the fact that we can travel to their Waco plant and attend, or send our employees to an operations school anytime we like.”
As far as what backpack blower to choose Dave tells us that “after experimenting with several types of blowers, we settled on the Stihl 350 with a two-stroke motor.” Here is what Stihl says on their website about the 350: “When your landscape calls for professional-grade tools, turn to the STIHL BR 350 backpack blower. Its powerful and fuel-efficient gasoline-powered engine provides enough rugged power to tackle heavy debris, while delivering exceptional fuel economy and lower emissions than previous models. The anti-vibration technology enhances operator comfort during long runs, which are made possible by a large 57.5 oz. fuel tank. All told, the BR 350 is one of our best backpack blower values for larger properties, ranches, and farms.”
Lastly, Dave Pople tells us that “in addition to our core sweeping business, we have added power scrubbing, using a Tennant power scrubber, high pressure power washing, for which we use a Hotsy pressure-washing unit, and parking lot striping, for which we use a Graco airless striping machine.” Visit for more information.

South Island Power Sweeping
South Island Power Sweeping, the largest power sweeping company on Vancouver Island, British Columba, Canada is owned and operated by Clint Morrish.
South Island’s Power Sweeping’s fleet of street cleaning trucks is based on a group of ten Johnson 650 Series vacuum sweepers. “These street sweepers meet or exceed government and municipal expectations. Our dedication to the same brand has saved us thousands in parts because they all interchange” says Morrish. In addition to the standard cleaning equipment, four trucks have been upgraded with a powerful pressure wash system located underneath the sweeper, which provides a superior clean-up. Morrish tells us that “each sweeper has the technology to spray down an environmentally safe degreaser or sanitizer. Most of our street sweepers have been modified to have multiple options and to travel at highway speeds. My philosophy in the sweeping industry has always been to innovate and diversify! Why have a great piece of machinery and have it operate in only one manner? Why not turn each truck you have into a real workhorse, a powerhouse of innovation and diversification? That has been the question in my mind since I have been in the business, over 30 years now, and, while it hasn’t been easy, it has turned to work out successfully for me, my company, and South Island.”
Our fleet also includes one environmental emergency response truck that can wash and scrub a 10ft. wide path with 3,000 psi after oil spills and vehicle accidents, says Morrish. “Our vacuum sweepers can clean a street and then convert over to a catch basin cleaning truck, do high pressure washing and scrubbing as well as take on degreasing and sanitizing jobs, all from the same truck. These are customizations that I created and invented. This leads to increased productivity and revenue due to our trucks having this versatility and variety of options.”
Morrish tells us that, “according to local environmental regulations, catch basins must be cleaned annually and our trucks are available 24/7 to do the job. Our sweeper trucks are also modified to do scupper cleaning, cleaning water drain holes in the middle of the highway. Another one of our 2005 Johnson 650s is designed to meet the strict environmental standards to allow us to do work on federal government properties which have huge docking bays, which are soiled by hundreds of seagulls resting at night. It has been modified to be allowed onto very sensitive, high-security areas.” The specialized truck uses environmentally safe hydraulic oil, it sprays a sanitizer if needed to kill bacteria and germs, and it is rigged with special lights for high visibility and night work. It is custom rigged with three spray bars. The first spray bar can lay down a sanitation spray for germ free food loading areas for the docked icebreakers; the second spray bar is for a degreaser spray; and the third bar sprays a 3000 psi water wash for heavy construction road clean up. “In fact, with the help of this truck and its customizations, says Morrish, “we have received an exclusive multi-year contract with The Department of Fisheries and the Coast Guard, which requires a security clearance, and it means that we are the only contractor permitted to work on the docks on a regular basis.”
Three of South Island’s trucks are on a Freightliner chassis with a John Deere back sweeper motor, which is monitored by an inboard computer system located in the cab. These trucks are also set up with sanitizer and road degrease systems. “We have two more 650 Johnson freightliner trucks using Perkins back engines and are also loaded with 4000 psi of road wash capacity. The remaining five trucks are all Johnson sweepers mounted on Mack frames with Perkins back motors and Renault front motors” says Morrish. You can find out more about South Island Power Sweeping Ltd by visiting their website:

Story by Mark Joseph Manion