Top Tips for Street Sweeping

When lay-people think of street sweeping, they immediately and solely think of keeping streets clean and, when pushed, consider the storm drains being kept clear of blockages. But beyond that, they are ignorant of how many things are affected by this job, like preventing floods during heavy rain seasons and pollution in waterways.
For professional sweepers, you already know how to operate efficiently and reduce potential problems by maintaining your equipment. But let’s take a few minutes to review some of those important tips and perhaps consider a few more to increase your effectiveness out on the road:

Maintain sweeping equipment by manufacturer’s recommendations
This sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes it needs to be said. Your equipment is what allows you to perform your job, so keeping it in its best working condition is vital. Following the manufacturer’s recommendation will ensure you replace your brooms on a regular basis and eliminate the inefficiencies that come from tools that aren’t properly cared for.

Stick to Optimal Sweeping Speed (3 to 7 mph)
The whole point of sweeping the street is to remove the pollutants from the road. So if a sweeper truck is traveling too fast (or even too slow), the pollutants on the road will directly effect stormwater treatments and take longer to clean the water.

Enforce Parking Restrictions
As much hassle as it is to remove cars that are impeding your sweeping job, it is a necessary aspect of the job. Every parked vehicle covers up to three car’s worth of pollutants that you would be unable to reach otherwise. Informing the public and getting them invested through knowledge of how important street sweeping is to their health and well-being is an effective way to ensure everyone is pursuing the same goal. Removing vehicles should not be optional.

Establish and Publish a Sweeping Schedule
The best way to ensure your street sweeping schedule is trouble-free is to have clear communication with the community so everyone knows which neighborhood is being cleaned on a given day. Make sure everyone knows when to remove their vehicles and your sweeping tasks will be super efficient.

Be Choosy about which Streets to Sweep
Sweeping streets without curbs or a barrier of some kind is a bit useless. It doesn’t effectively prevent pollution running off into other areas. Instead, focus on high traffic areas and where dirt is likely to pile up and travel toward runoff streams.

Use GPS Monitoring
Putting GPS devices in each of the sweepers provides accountability and security, especially if you contract your sweeping out to another company. Now that these devices are reasonably priced, the benefit of obtaining a unit for each sweeper outweighs any cost. It provides verification that the job is being done and in a timely manner.

Link the GPS Device to Important Actions
GPS devices are no longer just to give directions and show where people are. They can also be linked up to the sweeping mechanism of your vehicles to show when the sweeper is engaged. It has the capability to track how much time it takes to sweep and give you information on the quality of each of your operators. The uses are endless and this tool will give you the information you need to make your sweeping business wildly efficient and effective.

Monitor Street Dirt Accumulation
The reason you’re sweeping streets is to remove pollutants. So it only makes sense, with the advances of technology, to know and keep record of what you pick up. This will take a detailed plan, beginning with dividing up the area you’re responsible for sweeping into reasonable sections, and then implementing it.

Test your Sweeper’s Performance
As with any business, testing the abilities and effectiveness of the job you’re hired to do is a necessary part of making sure you stay relevant and competitive. Collecting data is the only way to know what your sweeper fleet is capable of and how to best use them in “real world” conditions. The best way to test them is to test their ability on actual conditions rather than putting down a large mass of dirt and see what is left after the sweeper has finished its job.

Hire a consultant
Having a consultant with the proper credentials and experience to assist with your GPS tracking information and collecting data on the dirt collected is a smart way to get all the details of your company’s effectiveness and notes for making changes for better quality and efficiency. Some of these tasks are best suited to someone who understands the technology and can crunch the numbers and give you the information in a condensed format.
As a business owner, you understand how frequent sweeping with quality sweepers may look like you’re wasting time and money, but at the end of the day, meeting the goals for pollution reduction and your permit requirements only enhances the return on your investment.

Story by Katherine Nolan