Even though we started the week with snowplows on the roads, we are transitioning to street sweeping season. While it’s not uncommon to see sweepers throughout the year, this is the time they are needed the most.
Street sweepers have been around since the 1840s. They keep our roads clean and they protect our water systems.
“Through the Clean Water Act, we have to sweep the streets, especially in the spring time after we’ve spent all winter sanding the streets, said” Street Superintendent, Randy Ghezzi. “We try to sweep so none of the water can take the sand down into the drains that eventually leads to the Portneuf River.”
On top of keeping debris out of the river, sweeping also cuts down on the amount of dust in the air. All in all, street sweeping is good for the environment but it doesn’t end there.
“We will throw stockpile chunks of concrete from old sidewalks, chunks of asphalt, and this sand material, and then we will crush it and grind it to a smaller, finer material and reuse it as a road base or a shoulder type material,” said Ghezzi.
The first mechanically powered street sweeper was purchased by a city here in Idaho. The city of Boise purchased the device in the fall of 1913, and their street commissioner reported a savings of a little more than $2,700 from what they were previously paying for the horse-drawn sweepers. Boise was followed by nearly every major city in the world.