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Study to monitor the effectiveness of street sweepers for improving stormwater quality.

Study to monitor the effectiveness of street sweepers for improving stormwater quality. Elgin Sweeper (Elgin, Illinois) has provided the city of Madison, Wisconsin, two vehicles--a Pelican and a Crosswind--to be used in a joint study with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) monitoring the effectiveness of sweepers on stormwater quality. The city seeks to reduce suspended solids that run-off into the water systems by up to 40 percent.

"We are always concerned with the general quality of our rivers and lakes. Our hope is to show a significant decrease in the amount of solids reaching state waters as a result of street sweeping," said Greg Fries, city of Madison Engineering Division. "If this relationship can be established, street sweeping would present itself as the most cost-effective, best management program. We are already sweeping for cans, bottles, etc., so if we can affect solids as well, that is great."

City and USGS staff began monitoring three basins in 2002 to chart the relationship between them. In April 2003, two of the basins began being swept with each of the two sweepers. The third basin will not be swept. Samples are being taken before and after sweeping and the data recorded and analyzed.

Elgin's contribution of product and finances to support the study was an easy decision.

"We hope to learn the effects street sweeping has on stormwater runoff and, in particular, if the type of sweeper--mechanical versus regenerative air--makes any difference," said Mike Higgins, Elgin director of sales and dealer development.

"There is a lot of incomplete information out in the marketplace regarding street sweeping and its effect on runoff. No other past studies have statistically proven what effect street sweeping has."

The Wisconsin DNR is anxious to see if test results confirm its thoughts about sweeping.

"Elgin shares our vision that street sweeping can play an important part in achieving that 40 percent goal," said Roger Bannerman of the DNR. "Maybe we learn that a certain machine works better than another or adjust the way streets are swept or how often. This is an idea that could spread far beyond the state of Wisconsin."

"Potentially, this could save cities a great deal of money," said Bill Selbig of the USGS. "If they can take advantage of funds already being spent on sweeping to better control pollution and meet new regulations, everyone wins."

A draft of the report detailing test results is targeted for late 2004. Following a six-august peer review, the final version should be available for public distribution in summer 2005.

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Title Annotation:engineering notes
Publication:Public Works
Date:Aug 1, 2003
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