Experts say that the global street sweeper market value reached $2.71 billion in 2020. Come 2026; they project this to grow to a staggering $39.6 billion. North America is one of the major users of advanced street sweeping equipment.
In the US, street sweeping will likely become even more vital as it’ll play roles in some of the President’s plans. These include fixing major roads and delivering clean drinking water to all people in the US.
What exactly are the roles that street sweepers will play in those projects, though? Why is street sweeping important, and how does it benefit humans and the environment?
We’ll answer all those questions in this comprehensive guide, so be sure to read on!
Helps Keep Storm Drain and Sewer Grilles Clog-Free
Storm drains, also called storm sewers, drain excess groundwater and rain. They have openings with grills that separate large debris from the liquids. You’ll find these drains along sidewalks, footpaths, streets, parking lots, and car parks.
The thing is, storm drain vents get clogged with debris, litter, and trash all the time.
In the US alone, an estimated 51 billion pieces of litter get left on US roadways. That translates to over 6,700 items of garbage per mile of roadway. What’s even worse is that over 90% of these are so small they make it past the storm drain covers.
One of the chief roles of a street sweeper is to remove dirt and road trash that can clog storm sewers. Sweepers collect road debris and haul them to waste management facilities. With less debris on streets and roads, there would be fewer risks of sewer drains getting all clogged up.
Assists In Preventing Sewer Overflows
More than 800 US municipalities rely on combined sewer systems (CSSs). These infrastructures are part storm sewers, part sanitary sewers. They function as storm drains while also collecting domestic and industrial sewage.
Extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rains, can overtax CSSs, though. When this happens, the sewers can overflow and send back sewage and wastewater onto the roads. Things can go from bad to worse if the sewer pipes themselves already have clogs due to trash.
Now, note that one milliliter of sewage can harbor up to one million microorganisms. Unfortunately, some of these microscopic organisms are pathogenic. These bacteria, viruses, and parasites can cause diseases in humans, animals, and plants.
As street sweeping helps prevent sewer clogs, it also plays a key role in keeping sewer overflows at bay. For these reasons, a street sweeper benefits communities and the environment.
Discourages Pest and Vermin Infestations
Road debris and garbage attract cockroaches, flies, mosquitoes, rodents, and other pests. Many of these are invasive species, collectively costing the world over $1 trillion. These critters not only damage property but also harbor pathogens that cause diseases.
Street sweepers can help curb infestations as they get rid of pest attractants on roads. In removing garbage, sweepers also eliminate these pesky critters’ sources of nutrients.
Also, keep in mind that many pests, such as mice and rats, thrive on sewage and wastewater. So, it won’t be a surprise to see rodents playing out on the streets when sewers overflow. Since sweepers ease the burden on sewer systems, they also help keep the roads vermin-free.
Reduces Odds of Water Damage to Buildings
In 2018, almost one in four US homeowners filed an insurance claim for water damage or freezing. The average claim severity back then amounted to $10,849. If you don’t have insurance and your home sustains water damage, you’d shoulder all those costs.
Water damage can occur not only from faulty interior plumbing pipes, though. Your home can also get flooded by water due to a sewer overflow. The same can happen if the storm drains on your street can’t work properly because of clogged vents.
So, street sweepers also protect homes and businesses from flooding and water damage.
Contributes to Keeping the Roads Safe for Driving
Previous reports found that debris on US roads is a cause or a factor for 200,000 road crashes over a span of four years. These accidents also resulted in at least 500 fatalities.
Roadway debris is hazardous because it’s a distraction and an obstruction. Litter can render cyclists and motorists visually distracted and affect their driving reactions.
Sharp objects, such as shattered glass and nails, can also puncture tires. If this happens, drivers can lose control of the wheel and get into a crash. This is an even bigger safety risk for bicyclists, as their tires are thinner and more prone to damages.
All that proves once again how crucial street sweeping is to the public.
Aids In Water Pollution Prevention
Sewer overflows can contaminate drinking water and pollute natural bodies of water. When drinking water gets contaminated, it can become home to pathogens like E. coli. These germs can then wreak havoc on human, animal, and agricultural health.
Water pollution from sewer overflows can also cause severe damages to aquatic ecosystems. Remember, sewers carry human and industrial waste that contains toxic chemicals. These substances are deadly to almost all types of marine life.
That’s why street sweeping is a crucial component of water pollution prevention. Again, that’s because street sweepers help prevent sewer overflows in the first place. Here’s a guide where you can read more on the anti-water pollution benefits of street sweeping.
Street Sweeping Benefits Everyone
As you can see, street sweeping is vital to human, animal, and environmental health. Street sweepers help protect the land, water, and air from pollution. They also help curb diseases, pest infestations, and road accidents.
So, the next time you see a street sweeper, be grateful these machines exist. After all, without them, many US roads would likely get covered in trash.
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