Fall 2012
street sweeperby Kody McConnell, Executive Assistant

This summer the City of Edmonds took a big step forward in our continuing efforts to be responsible stewards of our local environment. In July, the City Council approved the purchase of an Elgin Regenerative Air Street Sweeper through a wholesale cooperative resulting in significant cost-savings to the taxpayer. By utilizing the greenest technology in the industry and with the ability to meet the strictest emission standards and performance recommendations set by the state Department of Ecology and federal Environmental Protection Agency, Edmonds has once again shown its commitment to proactive leadership in the areas of sustainability and the conservation.

“You must give to the rivers the kindness you would give to any brother.”
Chief Seattle

Up until the 1970s, the only objective of street sweeping was for general cleanliness and the removal of road debris. Since then, however, raised environmental awareness has succeeded in persuading governments to adjust public policy to reflect concerns for water quality. While not widely advertised, proper street sweeping is very effective at reducing toxins in stormwater runoff. It is now known that small particles of heavy metals from cars and trucks carry the single most substantial portion of our urban stormwater pollutant loads. Older sweepers were designed using rotating brushes to remove large scraps of road debris, but left the vast majority of microscopic toxic elements to coat the surface pavement of our streets where they remain readily available to contaminate stormwater runoff that flows into urban drainage systems and from there into rivers, streams, lakes, and the waters of the Puget Sound. Today the advanced regenerative vacuum technology available in new street sweepers is considered industry best practice in protecting waterways and fragile ecologies. Yet still, 90% of street sweepers owned by municipal governments in America rely only on mechanical brooms.

street sweeper3“We’re excited to have this new equipment,” says Street/Stormwater Manager Tod Moles, “It’s critically important we stay on the cutting edge when it comes to managing our storm drainage systems in an environmentally conscientious way.” The City’s new sweeper hit the streets for its maiden run September 13th, and is expected to clean over 2,200 lane miles within Edmonds over the next year. “Operating on a standard ten year vehicle replacement cycle, by the time we need to replace this piece of equipment, it will have swept enough lane miles of our city streets to have effectively circumnavigated the globe,” according to Mayor Earling. It will also be one of the top two maintenance intensive pieces of equipment owned by the City of Edmonds due to the dusty nature of its operations and the myriad moving parts necessary for it
to perform its essential role in preserving the quality of life for our citizens. This unit cost $226,762.25 including tax and replaced an older model street sweeper that had been in non-stop service for over 12 years. The retired unit will be sold at a local used equipment auction.

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