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Street sweeping offers aesthetic, environmental benefits

Updated: 04/17/2019

street sweeperNow that the snow has melted, there's a good chance you've seen this vehicle out sweeping city streets. On average, the City of Shakopee sweeps approximately 3,000 miles of street curb each year. It's a big job but important for protecting our waterways from pollutants.

Why do we sweep streets?

Street sweeping primarily occurs between spring and fall when the curb lines are exposed, construction projects are active and storm water runoff is frequent. We will even sweep streets during the winter if there is minimal snow accumulation and the street curbs do not have snow in them.

Street sweeping cleans trash, debris, sediment, salt and other pollutants that collect on streets and can build up to create hazards or wash into wetlands, lakes and streams. Street sweeping is also used to keep construction sites clean and to prepare streets for and clean up after street maintenance projects. Street sweeping is important for aesthetics, street maintenance, vehicle and pedestrian safety, water quality and environmental concerns, as well as to comply with requirements of the city’s Surface Water Management Plan and permit with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. 

How can you help?

Grass clippings and leaves hold nutrients that pollute storm water runoff that enters our wetlands, lakes and streams. Mow your yard so grass clippings do not end up in the street and remember to clean up grass clippings that end up on your driveway or street by blowing them back into your yard. In the fall, rake the leaves in your yard, so they don’t end up in the street and ultimately our wetlands, lakes and streams.

Did you know? Public Works crews spend an average of 850 hours each year sweeping streets. Our street sweepers travel approximately 3 miles per hour, and most streets require four passes to sweep the complete street.