Contrary to Conventional Wisdom, Street Sweeping Can be an Effective BMP
Recent work suggests that street sweeping programs can be optimized to significantly reduce pollutant washoff from urban streets. The abilities of several different sweeping technologies to pick up accumulated sediment of various sizes were evaluated. In addition, the expected reductions in average annual washoff loads were evaluated using calibrated model simulations of the Simplified Particulate Transport Model (Sutherland and Jelen, 1993) for two stormwater sites in Portland, Oregon.
Results suggest that reductions of up to 80% in annual TSS and associated pollutant washoffs might be achieved using bimonthly to weekly sweepings. Frequencies and associated reductions would vary with patterns of precipitation sediment accumulation and resuspension, but it is clear that sweeping technology have a profound effect on sweeping results and achieve meaningful runoff quality benefits.
These results stand in sharp contrast to earlier conclusions dating back to December 1983. At that time, street sweeping had been found to be generally ineffective as a technique for improving the quality of urban runoff. This conclusion resulted from the United States Environmental Protection Agency sponsored Nationwide Urban Runoff Program (NURP) in which over 30 million dollars was expended in an intensive three-year investigation of urban runoff quality at 28 locations throughout the United States (USEPA, 1983).
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