Understanding the Clean Water Act

We see news headlines about clean water, pollution, and other environmental issues daily. Clean water is a global issue, but one that needs to be tackled at every level – local, state, and even federal. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act was created in 1948 as a way to regulate water pollution in the United States. It was modernized by multiple amendments in 1972 and re-named as The Clean Water Act (CWA). So, what does this have to do with you?

As a member of your community, you have as much of a responsibility as anyone to help keep water in the United States clean and unpolluted. You have an impact on the environment, and it’s up to you to make sure that that impact is a good one.

What Does it Regulate?

According to the CWA, substances that fall under its jurisdiction include various toxic pollutants, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), total suspended solids, fecal coliform, oil, grease, pH, and any “non-conventional” pollutants that are not categorized as conventional or priority. 

The CWA regulates both direct and indirect discharges of any of these pollutants into navigable waters.

Direct discharges include contamination from sources like pipes and sewers. Companies that need to discharge pollutants into national sewers are required to obtain a permit first, and then follow the regulations and conditions given by the NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) program.

Individual homes that do not have a surface discharge, use a septic system, or are connected to a community water system do not need an NPDES permit.

What Are the Consequences?

The NPDES regulates the discharge of pollutants into national waters, and any violation breaks the law. Even if the violation was an accident, the permittee is liable for prosecution. This can include a monetary penalty (up to $27,500 per violation per day), require the company to take corrective measure immediately, for the company to shut down production or activity until the problems are resolved, or even revoke a permit.

This stipulation negates the ability of any permittee to claim ignorance – it is up to every business and individual to be informed and aware of any pollution discharge for which they are responsible.

In addition to consequences meted out by the law, any violation pollutes the nation’s waters.That alone should be enough to avoid breaking the law when it comes to the CWA.

How Do I Avoid Violating the CWA?

The  most important thing you can do to avoid violating the CWA is to be informed. Monitor yourself, and if you notice any violations, take immediate corrective action.

Make sure your permit is up-to-date, and make sure any changes in pollution discharge are reported immediately to the EPA.

Look for ways to reduce discharge, such as keeping public streets swept and clean to avoid storm water discharge.

Keep yourself informed about what changes could happen and how they might affect you in the future…and what you can do to contribute to keeping the nation’s waters clean and free from pollution. Contact USA Services of Florida for more details. 

 

Questions to Ask about Sweeping for Your Pollution Reduction Plan

Sweeping for Your Pollution Reduction Plan

If you’re considering implementing a sweeping program in your city or community, you probably have a few questions about it. Before you make any major decisions, consider these questions you should be asking yourself.

Why Am I Considering Sweeping?

There are a myriad of reasons to hire a street sweeping company. You need to pinpoint what is driving you to consider a street sweeping program, and what difference it could make in your community.

Are you looking to reduce pollution? Make your streets look more attractive? Make the streets and sidewalks safer for pedestrians? Increase traffic to your businesses? Improve your city’s water quality?

What Do Sweeping Studies Say About Its Effectiveness?

Before you decide whether or not sweeping is worth the budget, do your research. Review available sweeping studies, and decide if your reasons for considering it are valid enough to warrant the service, or if there are other ways to achieve your goals that might be more effective. Click here to read a study by the Florida Stormwater and the cost effectiveness of street sweeping vs best management practices.

Look at studies from areas geographically similar to yours. Was sweeping effective? What other possibilities are out there? What is the best way to maximize street sweeping efficiency?

What Can Make Sweeping More Effective?

The number one most important way to make street sweeping effective is to make sure that all cars are removed from the street. If even a single car is parked along the curb, the sweeper will have to make a wide enough turn to avoid them that it will miss 3 full car lengths of road.

So how do you make sure the street is clear? Print out brochures, flyers, and other advertising that will inform people of the time and date of the street sweep. Put out notices online on city websites. Send people notices in city bills. Pass out flyers door to door if necessary to be sure that everyone is aware and can keep their cars off the street accordingly.

How Are You Going to Involve the Community?

Awareness is the first step to involve the community with the street sweeping process. Inform them when and why the sweepers will be coming around. Make sure that they know to keep their cars off the street, as well as to  clear large debris out of the road so that it doesn’t clog the sweepers.

Get the community on board with other environmentally friendly projects too. Use street sweeping as a kick-off point for educating your city about pollution, stormwater, and sanitation and encourage them to be more involved in their neighborhoods.

What is the Most Cost-Effective Way to Sweep?

The best option is to contract out street sweeping. Private companies will often do the work for less than city employees could.

For a professional street sweeping service in Florida, contact USA Services at 800-226-3200.

 

Street Sweeping and Your City: The Importance of Community Involvement

Why Bother Street Sweeping?

If you live in an urban or suburban area, chances are you’ve seen a street sweeper. We all know they keep our streets clean and our communities beautiful, but what other purposes do they serve?

Aesthetics aside, street sweepers also manage the hygiene of our towns and cities, cleaning the streets of waste and other potential sources of illness.

But did you know that street sweepers play an important role in keeping our lakes, streams, and oceans clean? When it rains on streets that are not swept, storm water carries dirt, sediment, trash and toxins like fertilizer and copper into our waterways. Rain water contamination can not only kill wildlife but makes such water unsafe for drinking and swimming. A well-swept road minimizes what is dumped into our streams and lakes.

 What can I do?

 As a citizen, it may seem like you play little part in cleaning the streets to protect our communities.However, this is simply not the case. You can do many things to assist our street cleaners and maintain your neighborhood.

First of all, you can refrain from over-fertilizing your lawn and calibrate your sprinklers to efficientlywater your lawn. Nitrogen in fertilizer commonly washes off into rivers and streams, causing algaegrowth that kills fish and prevents safe swimming.

How can city managers help?

City managers can have a major impact in the effectiveness of street cleaning when they choose the  types of trucks and schedule their routes. However, city managers can also help encourage community investment in street sweeping.

Education is the most effective way to encourage citizens in maintaining streets. Pamphlets and flyers are effective ways to tell residents about the impact that dirty streets can have on their neighborhoods and waterways. In addition, flyers in the mail or in an email can remind residents to move their cars and yard waste.

City managers can also consider posting permanent signs, restricting parking specifically during sweeping. Also, ticket revenue generated parking enforcement can help fund street sweeping projects.

What now?

To protect your community and its waterways, get together with your neighbors and help them remember to prepare for street cleaning day. Contact your city managers to encourage them to make street sweeping a priority. Clean streets means clean communities and clean water for everyone. Contact the premier street sweepers in Florida.

 

 

The Benefits of Keeping Your Community Roads Clean

Keep your roads clean

Keeping your community clean and well-kept can sometimes feel like fighting a losing battle. It can be expensive and time-consuming, and it can take an exhausting amount of commitment. But in the end, keeping your community roads in good condition can be as simple as keeping them swept, and it will be well worth the time, energy, and money.

Increased Property Value

In real estate, appearance is everything. When people are in the market for a new home, the first thing they want to see is that their potential new neighbors care about where they live. Prospective homeowners will be attracted to a community with clean streets and sidewalks because they reflect well on the community leaders, management, and citizens of the neighborhood.

In addition, clean streets will attract customers to businesses. No one wants to shop in a downtown where the streets are littered with trash! Cleanliness is a sign of success, a sign that what businesses have to offer is worth their time and money. Exterior appearances are just as important as interior aesthetics, and both businesses and residential areas would do well to keep their streets clean and presentable.

Safety

Not only does street sweeping improve the aesthetics of your neighborhood, but it reduces the risk of accidents. Clearing the streets of debris will minimize slip and fall accidents as well as protecting people from dangerous garbage like rusty nails and broken glass.

Wear and Tear

Street sweeping will pay for itself in the long run. Removing dirt, grit, and debris from the streets will keep them in better condition longer. Grit, sand, and some trash is abrasive, and having it ground into the streets and sidewalks will reduce their life span.

Stormwater Runoff

Stormwater runoff is fast becoming a major environmental issue. Stormwater runoff is any precipitation that does soak into the ground or evaporate, or all the water that runs into the gutters and drains on the streets and pools in potholes. It can be a serious source of pollution, and studies have shown that sweeping the streets on a regular basis will minimize that pollution hazard significantly.

So, how can simple rainwater be a pollution? It’s not the rain itself that is the problem, but what integrates with it on the ground. If there is debris, fertilizer, salt, loose gravel or grit, oil, or pet waste littering the street, the rainwater washes it all into the drains and sewers. If the roads are kept clean and swept, this pollution is reduced to the bare minimum.

For more information about keeping your streets clean, contact USA Services.

Clean Streets: More Necessary Than You Might Think

Keeping Up with Street Sweeping

You are likely aware of the environmental and aesthetic impacts a dirty street can have. But did you know dirty streets can also pose a real threat to drivers, as well as shorten the life span of the pavement?

Let’s explore some of the reasons street sweeping is necessary for making your neighborhoods and city a safer place for everyone.

Smaller Debris
Dust, grit, sand and rocks are very damaging to a road’s surface if roadway or construction site sweeping is not implemented. These small particles act like sandpaper—grinding the asphalt down and creating potholes. They can also wreak havoc on a car’s paint or windshield. Regular street sweeping greatly extends the life of a road, not to mention giving the city’s residents a sense of pride in their environment.

Trash
When there is garbage in the street, it’s not just unsightly—it can be dangerous. That innocuous-looking sheet of paper could get blown onto someone’s windshield and obstruct their view, or some other debris could get caught in a cyclist’s wheel or pop their tire.
 
Animals and Biohazards
When organic material or food trash is left in the roadway, it can attract local wildlife. This can be dangerous for several reasons: wild animals may carry disease, a few animals usually attract more animals, and animals can become aggressive and attack if they feel threatened.

More animals on the roadway can subsequently increase the likelihood of accidents or road kill. When road kill is left on the street, it in turn creates a biohazard for other wildlife, pets and even humans who may come in contact with the dead creature.

Benefits of Keeping Up with Street Sweeping

As you can see, many different elements can come together to create a dirty, dangerous street. By keeping a regular schedule of street sweeping and following best practices, you can:

  • Keep your streets looking beautiful
  • Prevent wildlife from being attracted to main thoroughfares
  • Extend the life of streets and street surfaces
  • Prevent possible pollutants from entering the environment

Whether it’s for construction sweeping or regular road maintenance, our team knows to follow the industry standards. We do our best to protect the environment and citizens while keeping the streets clean. To learn more about what we do or to request a proposal, call us toll-free at 1-800-226-3200 today.