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Sweeping for cleaner water

Long after the business day is over and many are preparing to sleep, parking lot sweepers are just getting started.  Many don’t even know this service exists and most don’t understand its purpose; yet, these specialized machines run every night of the year.  While most would presume that a parking lot sweeper’s job is to collect litter, it would only be a partial-truth.

American’s are passionate about water quality.  Water is contaminated from both point-source and non-point-source pollution.   Runoff from rooftops and paved surfaces contains non-point-source pollutants consisting of any contaminants whose source cannot be directly identified.    In the case of runoff from parking lots and other impervious surfaces, this pollution may be from hydrocarbons (oils) that leaked from vehicles, landscape chemicals, tire and brake residue, organics from trees and landscaping, and of course litter.  The objective of sweeping is to collect these pollutants and keep them from entering our bays, rivers, and aquifers.  Parking lot sweeping is a best management practice and is more cost effective for removing contaminates than any remedial technology.  Next time you see a sweeper, give him a thumbs up because your next glass of water may be cleaner as a result of his work!

A gutter broom captures contaminates before the enter our waterways