Stormwater October 2012 : Page 32

Keeping Stormwater CLEANER The role of street sweepers in limiting pollutants BY MARGARET BURANEN W hen Raul Garza sits in the cab of Clean Water Services’ light blue Tymco street sweeper, he sees himself as doing more than earn-ing a paycheck. Driving through the streets of the stormwater utility’s dis-trict—parts of Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties in Oregon— Garza knows that the work he is doing is important to keeping the local water supply clean. Garza, a fi eld maintenance techni-cian II, stars in a video Clean Water Services produced as part of the public education component of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Sys-tem (NPDES) permit. As his sweeper rolls along neighborhood streets, Garza demonstrates and explains his street sweeping routine in the video. “Street sweeping is the fi rst line of defense,” he tells viewers. “It helps pick up pollutants off of the road surface.” Loosely associated with Washington County, Clean Water Services (CWS) is responsible for stormwater services and management in all of the unin-corporated parts of the three counties. It holds the NPDES permit for all of Washington County. The stormwater utility provides service for about a half million residents. Workers are em-ployed directly by CWS. Steve Keenon, surface facility main-tenance supervisor for CWS, says the organization is required to use regen-erative air—not mechanical—street sweepers. CWS relies on Tymco’s Model 435. “We order it with the sound-reduc-tion option to keep the noise down in the neighborhoods,” says Keenon. “We have four street sweepers on the roads at all times.” The annual budget for sweeping, debris processing and screening, haul-ing, and leaf pickup is about $600,000. With about 1,000 miles of curbed and guttered streets to clean, CWS has to focus on saving both time and energy costs. “We put a drop box out in the area so operators don’t have to drive full sweepers back to empty them. The Tymco is the only smaller unit that will drop into a 20-yard drop box,” explains Keenon. The drop boxes are in place for only one day, so complaints from residents are rare. Occasionally someone who works at night and is home sleeping in the daytime asks if CWS can move the box farther away so he won’t be awakened by the sounds of dumping. 32 October 2012 Elgin Sweeper

Keeping Stormwater Cleaner

Margaret Buranen

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