by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor
The Dream of Excellence in Life – and Street Sweeping
This past August 28th marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Although a very good speech, it is not my favorite speech by that great leader. My favorite, which he gave at Chicago's New Covenant Baptist Church on April 9, 1967, is little known and even less remembered – at least outside our industry.
It is a speech no leader in America on a stage such as Dr. King commanded would ever think to give. Entitled "The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life," it is a speech that encourages individuals to be the best they can be as a way of life. And, it uses the lowly street sweeper as a parable of how a life should be lived. That portion of the speech goes like this:
"What I'm saying to you this morning, my friends, even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; (Go ahead) sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, "Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well."
There have been many changes in the power sweeping industry in the 46 years since the above words were spoken. Today's cadre of power sweeping professionals operate some very sophisticated pieces of equipment. In addition, the environmental and other challenges facing the "lowly street sweepers" of today are unparalleled in their diversity and critical nature.
As my own remembrance of the 50-year plus legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., I wanted to use this editorial to remind all who are reading this to heed his words. Keep up with the latest information on how you, as a power sweeping professional, can make an impact in your geographical sphere of influence.
Remember: Your job represents the first line of defense against stormwater pollution entering our increasingly polluted waterways. It has never been more important that the job of street sweeping be done well.
Want an updated take on the same type of topic? New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, was the keynote speaker at this year's APWA event. His speech, the highlights of which are linked here, is entitled "Average is Over."
Remember that any time you have sweeping-related questions of any kind, you can let me know and we'll do the best we can to assist. After 25 years of writing and consulting for the power sweeping industry, chances are we've already covered the topic somewhere along the way.
Executive Director, World Sweeping Association
PS If you haven't 'liked' our WorldSweeper Facebook page, what are you waiting for? That's where we offer industry previews and updates on an ongoing basis.
September Newsletter Contents
(Scroll down to read stories or click on links.)
- How Street Sweepers Work
- Implementing a Street Sweeping Best Practice
- Going DEF: Everything you need to know about buying and dispensing Diesel Exhaust Fluid
- Facilities Modification for Natural Gas Vehicles
- APWA Announces 2013-2014 Board of Directors
- Street Sweepers: Compliance Tools on Wheels
- Featured Contractor: East Coast Industrial Services, Inc.
- Not Exactly Sweeping: 2013: Summer of Storm Drain Art?
How Street Sweepers Work
You operate them. You fix them. You train others to do the same. However, did you know that mechanical street sweepers actually predate the automobile?
The editors at How Stuff Works have written an accurate, comprehensive overview of the development of street sweeping and the machines that perform the activity today, which they say involves "drivers steering boxlike vehicles that look like a cross between a Zamboni machine and a dump truck." You'll find it an interesting saga, no matter your level of sweeping industry involvement.
Access the article.
Implementing a Street Sweeping Best Practice
Through the years, the state of Minnesota has been one of America's leaders in developing best practices for street sweeping. When one looks at a map of the state and sees all the waterways it contains, it's easy to see why that might be the case.
This particular study is one we somehow missed when it was first published back in 2008. However, there have been few, if any, significant changes since then that would modify the results. The information collected for the study cover four different topic areas: Best Practices Overview, Types of Sweepers, Reasons for Sweeping, and Sweeping and Roadway Function.
In our opinion, if you're in charge of a sweeping program anywhere and want to develop best practices for it, this document is a 'must read.' Better late than never, we offer the study in its entirety as a PDF file.
Check out the Minnesota Best Practices study.
Going DEF: Everything you need to know about buying and dispensing Diesel Exhaust Fluid
In the near future you will get to know – and have to manage – a relatively new fluid for your diesel engines. It's called diesel exhaust fluid, or DEF, as well as by a few brand names.
Although purchasing, storing and handling of DEF adds another layer of complexity to your fleet management practices, the fluid itself is a minor miracle when it comes to reducing exhaust emissions from diesel trucks.
All new heavy highway and diesel pickup truck engines have switched to SCR systems using DEF. It is expected that within the next few years the majority of heavy equipment engines above 74 horsepower will also use it. If you want all the details, take a look at the linked article by our friends at Equipment World.
Read the details.
Facilities Modification for Natural Gas Vehicles
Sweeper fleet managers, vehicle dealers and distributors, and other service providers are ramping up to begin more widespread maintenance and repair of natural gas vehicles. If you are among them, your first priority must be to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers alike.
This is accomplished by making certain your vehicle facilities meet the code and safety requirements for maintaining and repairing NGVs. This is especially important because natural gas is a lighter-than-air fuel – which is totally opposite of the properties for gasoline or diesel. This article, which was written for WorldSweeper by the Executive Director of the Natural Gas Vehicle Institute (NGVi), covers all the bases.
Read all about it.
APWA Announces 2013-2014 Board of Directors
The American Public Works Association (APWA) announced the new and reelected
2013-2014 Board of Directors at the 2013 International Public Works Congress and Exposition
in Chicago, IL.
Serving as President for a one-year term, Ed Gottko, PWLF, of Westfield, NJ, will lead
the organization, which provides professional development and credentialing services, and promotes
increased investment in public works infrastructure and sustainable systems. Gottko is currently
Adjunct Professor at colleges in New York and New Jersey.
To take a look at the remaining APWA board member selections, use the link shown below.
Check it out.
Street Sweepers: Compliance Tools on Wheels
This story about the environmental capabilities of sweepers, published recently in Stormwater magazine, misses the mark in terms of technical information. Specifically, the author appears unaware – or didn't take the time to articulate for his readers – the difference in pollution removal capabilities between air-based sweepers and mechanical broom machines.
This was even more disappointing given that Stormwater is the magazine of choice for so many in the U.S. and elsewhere who are tasked with storm water pollution removal. For those who primarily get their information from that source, the readers will have no way of knowing that air sweepers offer a much higher removal rate for small-micron debris, which is where the majority of storm water pollution is located.
As a result of the article's lack of clarity and completeness of information we have chosen not to archive the link at WorldSweeper.com. However, if you want to read a general overview of the current product availability within the power sweeping industry, the direct link is shown below.
Take a look.
Featured Contractor: East Coast Industrial Services, Inc.
In 1995, Jay Presutti took a job in the janitorial field. Several years later, Jay and his wife, Laurie, purchased the exterior maintenance portion of the business, including sweeping. This started Jay and his wife, Laurie, on the road toward the sweeping and full service maintenance business they operate today.
They added a partner, Anthony, forming a corporation with him and Laurie as the two principals. That worked out very well. However, when another partner was allowed to buy into the company later that year it ultimately became a big mistake – one big enough to force a company break-up.
East Coast Industrial's story is a cautionary tale about taking on partners and making sure to generate, in writing, exactly what will occur when and if a separation is required. It's also a positive story about how, when people are committed to honesty and integrity, a new company can rise from the ashes of the old. The article includes a 40-minute podcast with Jay Presutti.
Check out the article.
2013: Summer of Storm Drain Art?
Although not, strictly speaking, sweeping-related, finding ways to reduce stormwater pollution runoff has become the most emergent requirement for street sweeping.
The links at these articles show what cities are doing to help that activity from the perspective of keeping storm drains from becoming garbage cans.
Check out the story.