3 Benefits of Street Sweeping

 

You see them on the road and in your neighborhood all the time, but have you ever wondered what street sweepers do? Obviously street sweepers sweep the streets, but if you think their sole purpose is to clean up dirt, you are mistaken. Street sweepers also provide many civic and environmental benefits.

They Protect the Public

Although street sweeping does add to a community’s cosmetic appeal, it also provides the community with significant sanitation benefits as well. For starters, it prevents automobile accidents by clearing debris, garbage, tree limbs, or other hazards from the street.

More importantly, street sweeping clears debris from gutters. Clear gutters can properly direct water into storm drains. But if it weren’t for street sweepers, debris would build up and eventually lead to flooding in the road, which would disrupt the flow of traffic or cause accidents.

Street sweeping doesn’t just prevent car accidents though. This sanitary service helps keep people healthy. After all, dirty gutters are unsanitary and can attract pests and disease.

If you and your neighbors have children who play in your yard and street—or if you enjoy taking a morning jog or afternoon bike ride, you probably appreciate having clean streets for these reasons and more.

They Protect Pets

You may not have realized it, but having a street sweeper in your neighborhood keeps your pet safe. This is because animals, including house-pets, gravitate to the scent of rotting food and debris in your gutters.

Unfortunately, the debris that gathers in your gutters could contain sharp objects, toxic chemicals, or hazardous materials. It could also contain mold and bacteria. And since animals don’t know any better, it falls to you to keep them from eating or touching hazardous waste.

Having dirty gutters also creates problems because animals will wander into the road to investigate them. Drivers might not see an animal snooping around in the dark, and then a tragic accident could happen. Street sweeping removes the temptation so animals have less reason to go into the street.

They Clean Our Environment

So . . . what happens to waste if it doesn’t get cleared from the gutters?

Unfortunately, waste washes downstream and can leak into streams, lakes, and even our water supply. And just as this waste is hazardous for your pet, it is hazardous for humans and wild animals as well.

Street sweeping keeps hazardous material like metal particles, bits of glass, road construction materials, and cigarette butts out of our water supply. The debris ends up in a treatment plant or landfill instead of in our soil, water, or atmosphere.

If it weren’t for street sweepers, you would breathe toxic air, grow toxic food, and drink and bathe in toxic water. Thanks to their hard work, you not only avoid these problems, but you’ll get all the benefits listed above as well.

Sweeping for Parades, Festival and other Holiday Events

The holiday season is one of the most fun and exciting times of the year.  People everywhere are busy shopping, attending parties and sharing in the holiday spirit.  Some of the most popular activities during this season are the parades, festivals, concerts and other events provided by local city and county agencies.  With hundreds and possibly thousands of people descending on a small area to enjoy these events, it takes special consideration to ensure the site is clean, safe and makes a great impression on those who attend.  This is where a street sweeper can be a huge help to your event.

Street sweeping should be scheduled prior to an event to ensure the site is clean and safe.  Parade routes must be free of any potential debris that could hurt parade participants as they proceed down the route.  The same is true for festivals such as art and craft fairs.  The streets sectioned off for these events need to be safe for the patrons who are walking through the area enjoying the event.  The cleanliness of the streets also is a direct reflection of the quality of the municipality putting on the event, so putting an extra bit of effort in the event planning will pay dividends in public perception and image.

After a parade or event, there is sure to be a large amount of litter present that will need to be cleaned up immediately before it has a chance to travel to the stormwater system.  A quality street sweeping service is the most cost effective way to get your roads clean quickly.  For parades, we often recommend having two sweepers, one on each curb line, following the parade on its route as the “last float in the parade.”  This allows us to clean up the paper, candy and other objects that fall in the road immediately as the parade concludes.  We also can provide crews to clean the sidewalks off as the parade travels its route, if this is a service you would like to add.

For festivals and events, the post event cleanup can be scheduled at your choosing.  We’ve had some event organizers who want their roads swept in the evening immediately following the last day of the event.  We’ve also had other agencies who want an extra day or two to cleanup stands, garbage cans, and other large items prior to our crews sweeping the roads.  The choice is entirely up to the customer. Our staff is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.  We will gladly schedule our services to be performed at a time when it is most convenient for you.  Please contact us today to learn more.

 

Organizing an Outdoor Festival? Don’t Forget These Important Steps

When you need to plan an outdoor festival, you’ve got a lot to prepare for. You love the spectacle of New Orleans’ Carnival, feel the danger and excitement of Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls, see the beautiful colors of India’s Holi spring festival, and enjoy the always entertaining Germany’s Oktoberfest.

While you don’t have to live up to these celebrations, you can take a few steps to make your outdoor festival fun and unforgettable. Whether you’re organizing visual arts, music, performing arts, theater, film, or multifaceted festivals, read on to learn the best ways to make them go off without a hitch.

Focus on the Music

The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal organization that focuses on the nation’s arts. It researches and encourages artistic development with helpful data, grants, and prestigious awards. This agency takes a special interest in festivals around the country. Why? Because festivals provide many their main access point to local culture. And according to a 2010 research report, music is the connective tissue among most festivals.

While many festival producers feel they need a famous headliner, those “big acts” can come with a big price tag. If your budget allows, booking a well-known performer can attract crowds from all over the area. However, if you have limited funds, you still have options. Scout out the nearby university and enjoy a few coffee shop shows to find local bands. You can give them a platform to perform and introduce the community to underrated, homegrown music.

Let Them Eat Cake

Music is essential, but if your festival-goers are going hungry, they won’t enjoy that music for long. If your venue is small enough, you could bid out catering to one lucky company. They will pay handsomely for the advertising and sole access to captive customers. How ever, if your festival contains hundreds of famished families, they will need more than one option.

Like we discussed with local bands, local restaurants, food trucks, and start-ups would clamber to serve at your festival. You can increase their visibility and customer base, which can boost the local economy. Include a variety of food types so people can select their favorite.

Put Safety First

So far, we’ve focused on the entertainment, but your most important concern is always visitor safety. Most municipalities require yo u to place a tent near the entrance so people will know where to head if they need help. Make sure to include this tent as you plan your festival layout.

Your entrance brings up another safety concern. If your festival is free to the public, you may be tempted to dispense with entrance booths and let people walk in and out from all directions. However, this can be unsafe because you and your team do not have an accurate occupancy total-and you can’t see what people are bringing inside. Choose one or two monitored entrance/exit points to keep everyone as secure as possible.

Divide and Conquer

You can only do so much on your own. Make sure you surround yourself with a team you can trust to get their jobs done. But, even if you have a reliable team, you may not have enough resources to publicize your event.

One of the best delegation methods is to reach out to volunteers. Yes, you can put up flyers that contain your phone number or em ail address and hope people will get in touch. However, most people aren’t that proactive. Instead, utilize already-formed volunteer groups. Get in touch with the local masonic lodge, the PTA, high school or university programs, church volunteer groups, or any other volunteer-focused association. They can spread the news while you tend to other matters.

Stay Clean

During the planning stage, you have hundreds of tasks to juggle. The layout, volunteer signups, vendor contracts, publicity, lights, and permits all matter in the final product. But after the festival is over, you don’t want to get stuck with the clean up.

You can help avoid the mess by placing garbage cans throughout the area. The moment you feel you have enough, add a couple m ore. They fill up faster than you think. Even with this precaution, however, someone will need to clean the festival site. Hire a local street sweeping company that services special events like yours. The best will offer cleaning options for before and after the festival. Some even provide hand cleaning for areas that trucks can’t reach.

If you want your festival to evolve into a community tradition, you must take the after effects into account. If the area looks like a disaster afterward, the city or private owner will not want to host it again.

Use these steps to make your festival a success. Don’t forget to take photographs and grab a couple of interviews from your happy festival-goers-you can use that material in next year’s advertisements!

Celebrating Our Symbol of Freedom – The American Bald Eagle

At USA Services, as our name implies, we take great pride in our country and all the things that make it great. Over the years we’ve come to adopt the American Bald Eagle as our company symbol just as it is the national bird and symbol of freedom. The most recent example of this is one we are very proud of – our brand new Street Sweeper wrap featuring the Bald Eagle descending on its prey beneath the water.

To commemorate this latest edition to our fleet we thought we’d share some facts on the Eagle.

• Something not widely known is that Florida contains the second largest population of Bald Eagles in the United States, trailing only Alaska.

• On June 20, 1782, the Continental Congress adopted the still-current design for the Great Seal of the United States including a bald eagle grasping 13 arrows and a 13-leaf olive branch with its talons

• Bald Eagles were once an endangered species but conservation efforts worked well enough to allow it to be removed from the endangered list in 1995.

• The Bald Eagle’s average wingspan is between 6 and 7.5 feet

• It builds the largest tree nest of any animal species – 13ft deep and 8ft wide

• At an altitude of 10,000 ft. the eagle soars higher than any other bird yet can dive at speeds reaching 100mph and swiftly land on the ground.

• An eagle’s vision is so fine it can spot another eagle flying 50 miles away.

• When all other birds are flying away from a storm in fear, the eagle spreads its mighty wings and uses the storm’s current to soar to greater heights.

• Around the age of 30 the eagle deteriorates physically making it difficult to survive. Rather than give up though, the eagle retreats to mountaintop where it goes through a 5 month metamorphosis. It knocks off its own beak by beating it against a rock and pulls out its talons and feathers. The eagle’s body then regenerates these parts of its body allowing it to live another 30-40 years. Talk about never giving up!

• Eagles are tenacious, willing to attack creatures much larger and stronger than it in order to protect its home and family. Eagles have been known to attack large goats that have gotten close to their nest by pushing them so hard that they fall off a cliff.

This video gives you an amazing “birds-eye view” of what it’s like to soar like an eagle.

Developing a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)

The state of Florida and the FDEP was given authorization by the EPA to implement their own NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permitting program in the year 2000. This program regulates point source discharges of stormwater into surface waters of the State of Florida from industrial, construction, and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s). The FDEP was given the responsibility reviewing general permits request, issuing general permits, performing stormwater management compliance, and working with local municipalities to push enforcement initiatives. With construction being the most common permit issued, and by far the largest source of sediment water pollution in the United States, it is the most commonly audited by the FDEP and local municipalities.

Before you can file for your general permit you must first develop a SWPPP (Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan). The SWPPP main function is to identify any possible site pollutants that have the capability of affecting the stormwater discharging from your site boundaries. The SWPPP must also describe the Best Management Practices (BMP’s) that will be utilized on your site to reduce these pollutants from discharging off site. The FDEP does give a SWPPP template and a full list of requirements on their website. When creating your SWPPP, keep in mind that you’re not creating a finished product. Once construction starts the SWPPP is intended to be a living document that changes with your site. Once your SWPPP is completed you can file for your general permit or NOI (Notice of Intent). The SWPPP and NOI must be posted onsite at all time during construction.

The most common BMP’s used on a construction site in the State of Florida are silt fence, sock drain pipe, construction entrance, turbidity barrier, and street sweeping. When choosing which BMP’s you will utilize on your site keep in mind that all material BMP that is installed has a life span that usually doesn’t last longer than the projected life of the project. A preventative maintenance BMP like street sweeping when done and utilized correctly can dramatically reduce the need for other BMP’s your site by removing the sediment and tracking from your street before it reaches the storm system and discharges off site. If a BMP is not working as intended and a new BMP is used it must be changed in the SWPPP’s narrative.

Once the project is started and the permit is filed and the SWPPP is on site a routine inspection must be done by a qualified site inspector chosen by the construction sites operator. The inspection must be done every 7 calendar days and within 24 hours of the conclusion of a rain event of 0.5” or greater for the duration of the project. For a complete set of conditions and requirements pertaining to Inspection Frequency refer to the official Florida Construction Generic Permit.

Contact USA Services today to see how street sweeping can help save you money over structural BMP’s.