- Street sweeping is the process of cleaning streets and sidewalks with a machine that sweeps away and gathers debris.
- The first street sweeper was invented in 1797 by Benjamin Franklin.
- Today’s sweepers are powered by gasoline engines, electricity, or batteries.
- These advanced machines help remove debris from streets, sidewalks, and other surfaces; reduce water pollution; improve air quality; make a neighborhood more aesthetically pleasing and extend the life of the pavement.
- The sweeping schedule is generally published by the municipality or city where you live.
Imagine a world without street sweepers. The sidewalks would be covered in leaves and debris, parking lots would be full of trash, and gutters would be overflowing with litter. Street sweeping is important for keeping our communities clean, but how does it work? Let’s take a closer look at the street-sweeping process to find out.
Street Sweeping: Understanding the Basics
The procedure of cleaning streets and sidewalks with a machine that sweeps and gathers debris is known as street sweeping. Some of these machines – called street sweepers – are mounted on trucks or trailers and are pulled by a tractor.
History of Street Sweepers:
The first street sweeper was invented in 1797 by Benjamin Franklin. It was a broom attached to a wheeled cart pushed by a person. Then the first mechanical sweeper was invented by George W. Buchannan. It was a horse-drawn machine with brushes that swept debris into a box.
When C.S. Bishop, an inventor, noticed the success of a mechanical street sweeper in 1849, he realized he could improve on the idea. Instead of merely a simple sweeping mechanism, Bishop added rotating disks covered with wire bristles rather than corn stalks, and other typical broom-making materials to make the device more effective at sweeping dirt off the streets.
After 60 years, the first self-propelled sweeper machine was invented in 1920 by Walter P. Murphy. It was an electric-powered machine that had brushes that swept debris into a gutter.
About Modern Street Sweepers:
Today’s street sweepers do more than just remove large volumes of trash from the road. Much of the water pollution from highways consists of minute particles, which can be removed from the road by these modern machines. These sweepers, equipped with water tanks and high-pressure sprayers that can loosen and remove particles, work like a wet or dry vacuum to remove and dispose of them appropriately later.
Thanks to these four brilliant men, street sweepers keep our streets clean and our waterways fresh.
How Does Street Sweeping Work?
The process is quite simple. A street sweeper utilizes rotating brushes to scrub the road’s surface and loosen debris, which is then sucked into a hopper. Debris collected in the hopper is typically disposed of in landfills or incinerated.
While sweepers are most often used on paved surfaces, they can also be used on gravel roads and parking lots. The rotating brushes of this machine can loosen and remove debris from these surfaces, which are then vacuumed up into the hopper.
The type of power system a sweeper uses will depend on the size and model of the machine. Some street sweepers are powered by gasoline engines, while others run on electricity or batteries. The power source also determines how long a sweeper can run before needing to be refilled or recharged.
The Benefits of Street Sweeping:
So, now that we know how they work, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of regular street sweeping.
Benefit 01: Debris Removal
The most apparent benefit of street sweeping is that it helps to remove debris from streets, sidewalks, and other surfaces. This includes leaves, trash, cigarette butts, paper wrappers, and anything else that can blow around or get left behind. Regular sweeping can ensure that streets and sidewalks are cleaner and safer for pedestrians.
Benefit 02: Reduced Water Pollution
Street sweeping can also help to reduce water pollution. When rain falls, it picks up pollutants like oil, grease, pesticides, and heavy metals from parked cars and roadsides. These pollutants are then carried into storm drains and waterways, polluting drinking water sources, damaging ecosystems, and harming wildlife. Cleaning the streets prevents this.
Benefit 03: Improved Air Quality
Another benefit is improved air quality. Street sweepers remove particulate matter from the air as they collect debris. Particulate matter is made up of tiny particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, where they can cause respiratory problems like asthma attacks or bronchitis. By removing particulate matter from the air, these sweepers can help improve air quality for everyone in the community—especially people with respiratory problems.
Benefit 04: A More Aesthetically Pleasing Neighborhood
Let’s face it: nobody really wants to reside in a trash-filled community. Street sweeping can help to make a community more aesthetically pleasing by removing litter and debris from streets and sidewalks. This can make a community more inviting for residents and visitors alike.
What Is the Street Sweeping Schedule?
This is generally published by the municipality or city where you live. Many cities have an online database where you can type in your address to determine when your street will be swept. For example, states in Canada offer an online sweeping schedule lookup tool. You can also usually find the sweeping street schedule on your city’s website or by calling your city’s public works department.
Street sweepers typically operate when there is less traffic on the streets. However, you may occasionally see a sweeper out at night or on weekends if an event is happening downtown that will require extra cleanup.
Note: It is important to remove your car from the parking areas on the street during street-sweeping hours. If you don’t, you may get a ticket, or your car may be towed. The ticket is usually around $30, but it can vary depending on the city.
Now that we know how street sweepers work and some of the benefits of regular street sweeping, it’s clear that this is an important service for any community. So next time you see those big trucks rolling down your street, remember that they’re doing more than just keeping things tidy—they’re helping to protect our environment too!
JB Lines offers a variety of paved road and highway sweeping services to municipalities, private homeowner associations, business sectors, and other groups in Airdrie, Alberta. We can make your roadways clean and bright again!