(Kansas City, Mo.) – They are a small, but mighty team. Eleven KC Water Street Sweepers cleaning up mile after mile of Kansas City streets. In fact, the goal is to sweep 15,000 curb miles each year. The street sweeping program is funded through the monthly stormwater fee, which is typically $2.50 per customer.
Most of the drivers do their work with little response from the public. Not Will Goulden; he drives the sweeper emblazoned with the Royals logo.
“The public reaction is always great. Everybody smiles and waves. Sometimes it slows me down, but no problem. People like to take pictures in front of it,” said Goulden.
Nine of the trucks are powered by compressed natural gas, which is better for the environment. The other two run on diesel.
They remove the trash and debris that might otherwise wash into storm drains and clog the system which can lead to street flooding and ultimately affect water quality in Kansas City’s creeks, streams, and rivers.
From April 1st to June 30th, the crews sweep the central zone of KC. That’s from the Missouri River south to 89th street. After that, it’s the north zone and then the south zone.
Aside from other drivers who get in a hurry and cut in front of the trucks, longtime sweeper Buford Logan explains another problem: homeowners who see the trucks as a leaf pickup service.
“They see the sweeper coming and by the time you get there they’ve raked their front yard and their back yard. They’ve got their electric blowers and they’re blowing that stuff out in the street,” said Logan.
When the debris piles up, the driver has to sweep the area more than once which keeps him from getting to the next street on schedule. Also, there’s a City Ordinance that bans homeowners from blowing leaves into the street.
The sweepers can hold 4 cubic yards, and when it’s full, the driver calls for a dump truck.
Logan explains what happens next, “The hopper rises up 10 feet in the air and it slides over to the truck and it dumps it over inside of the truck. Then it goes right back down and they go right back to sweeping. They do this all day, 10 hours a day.”
When they’re done, the street does look better. But, KC Water Utility Superintendent Jorge Flores says the larger goal is water quality.
“It impacts our stormwater collection system. If we’re able to remove all of the debris and trash before it goes to inside our storm lines it will be easier for the treatment plants to treat the water before it goes back into the river,” said Flores.
More information about KC Water’s street sweepers, including a schedule and contact information, can be found HERE.
For more information, please contact Brooke Givens, Media Relations Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816.513.0284.
KC Water maintains and operates water treatment and distribution systems, stormwater management systems, and wastewater collection and treatment systems for residential and business customers in Kansas City and for wholesale customers in the Kansas City area. KC Water is primarily funded by fees charged to customers based on their use or impacts on the three utility systems.