Environmental Information

Elgin Sweeper is committed to providing municipalities with environmental solutions that reduce storm water and air pollution. We have recently introduced EcoInfused® Technology into our brand, which defines new technology from Elgin Sweeper that combines science and innovation to produce more environmentally efficient sweepers.

From our alternative fuel sweepers and waterless dust control sweepers, to our single-engine technology; Elgin Sweeper is a technology leader in developing innovative products that result in cleaner streets, water and air.

In addition to sweeping there are many things communities can do to learn about and improve their air and water quality. Following you will find more information and some additional resources focused on creating a cleaner world to live in.




    Cleaning & Restoration



Sweeping is a storm water BMP and a common pollution prevention technique to remove pollutants before they enter the storm water system. Some local governments have storm water requirements for debris handling after it has been collected, such as designated dump areas or ground-dumping restrictions. In the case of ground-dumping restrictions, container or truck dumping can be an effective solution.

Dumping Into A Container

Dumping into a roll-off container keeps pollutants from potentially contaminating storm water. All of the pollutants are contained and transported to be disposed of in a safe location. Another benefit of dumping into containers is eliminating double-handling of debris; scooping it off of the ground and transporting it for disposal. Dumping into containers also allows the operation to dump on-site.

Dumping Into A Dump Truck

Dumping into a dump truck is another effective method that eliminates ground dumping and potential stormwater contamination. It also affords the opportunity to dump on-site, rather than transporting to a designated dump site


Catch Basin Screens

The general purpose of catch basic filtration is to keep street level contaminants from entering the storm sewer system and causing storm water pollution. Catch basin devices differ significantly in their ability to capture small particles and in their holding capacity. The most commonly used versions filter trash from storm water runoff and other water runoffs and have a capacity of a few hundred pounds. Catch basin devices act as a last chance removal BMP, best used in conjunction with street sweepers.

What is it?

A catch basin screens is essentially a large, coarse screen that can be placed at the opening of the catch basins at street level, or installed inside of the catch basin. The screens are constructed of a noncorrosive metal such as stainless steel. Catch basins with flow restrictors don’t effectively remove pollutants by themselves (EPA.gov) but can be used in conjunction with other practices.

How does it work?

During intense weather events, catch basin covers act like a large colander – they prevent larger debris from entering the sewers with storm water. To maintain catch basin inserts, a combination sewer cleaner such as a Vactor can be utilized to remove collected material from the trap.


How does it fight pollution?

Normally, storm water is naturally filtered through soil before it reenters the water system. Paved surfaces however, block storm water from being filtered. Storm water usually gets piped to the nearest body of water along with all the surface pollutants like oil drips, brake dust, litter and other water pollution. Porous pavement, or pervious pavement, is a special type of Portland cement concrete or asphalt concrete that is porous and allows water to pass through it. Paving bricks may also be used, but oftentimes the water and storm water passes through the permeable course sand that is between the bricks. Regardless of the top surface type, all pervious pavement types intended for storm water control are designed to allow water to pass through the top surface, then store and begin to filter the storm water in some type of collection bed under the top surface layer. The stored storm water can be absorbed directly back into the soil, virtually eliminating storm water runoff.

Maintenance Information

The key to success with porous pavement is to keep the pores open. It’s imperative to avoid sealing the pavement with nonporous sealants and to keep the pavement free of debris.

Cleaning the pavement with just the nozzle from a high-powered, pure vacuum sweeper three or four times a year usually does the trick. Porous pavement varies depending on your local climate, so talk to a specialist in your area. Additional maintenance and restoration information is available via our Porous Pavement White Paper, but is only intended to be a recommendation as every application is different.



A practical approach to reduce air and water pollution is to sweep it off the streets, typically using road sweepers. That's why the EPA recognizes - considers sweeping as a Best Management Practice (BMP) - street sweepers as a valuable tool in the fight against pollution.



Frequently Asked Questions

While there have been some inconclusive studies, recently there are both private and government studies that demonstrate compelling evidence that sweeping reduces pollution.

No, absolutely not. All sweepers remove fine particulates, and the ability to remove fine particles from the street surface has no direct connection to whether a sweeper has a filter system on it.

Read the claims closely - no manufacturer ever claims removal numbers even remotely close to this. What they claim is that filters mounted to the sweepers could remove particles of that size from the air. This applies to the filters, which are commercially available and used by any manufacturer.

All correctly functioning and operated sweeping technologies, including wet dust control mechanical sweepers, remove pollution. All modern Elgin Sweepers remove at least 85% and up to 97% of the pollutants typically found on the street.

There is no single answer to this question but here are some guidelines:


To help reduce water pollution utilizing sweepers:

  • • Sweep prior to rain events
  • • Sweep often
  • • Sweep where there is dirt
  • • Sweep dry to remove fines



To help reduce air pollution by sweeping:

  • • Choose sweepers with a low emission auxiliary engine or with single-engine technology
  • • Sweep often - sweep dry to remove fines
  • • Capture fugitive dust Sweep where the dirt is



Tips on sweeping for pollution control through sweeping:

  • • Using a worn out or maladjusted sweeper, regardless of type, does not help and might even cause pollution
  • • Make sure that all sweepers are in serviceable condition and are being used as the manufacturer intended



  • • Sweeping is a storm water BMP. And the more you sweep, the more is removed
  • • Sweeping is a more cost effective means of removing debris than other storm water BMP's
  • • Sweeping is a classic pollution prevention technique – removing pollutants before they enter storm water
  • • Catch basin cleaning works but it is more work and a “last chance” proposition
  • • There is sometimes a lack of understanding about how to use sweepers as a storm water BMP



  • • Sweeping traditionally was/is to remove visible debris
  • • Public works officials are often judged by how the streets look compared to how much (or little was spent)
  • • Modern high efficiency sweepers cost more
  • • There is science and proper procedures in sweeping for storm water pollution control. It’s not complex and it’s not difficult, but it’s different than just making the street aesthetically pleasing
  • • There's misinformation concerning sweepers and sweeper use and pollution in general



  • • We must educate the users in the proper techniques of how to remove storm water pollution with a sweeper
  • • We must educate the users that water pollution remediation and air pollution remediation require different techniques
  • • We must provide sweeping frequency guidance
  • • We must help users understand that street sweeping can be used effectively as a storm water BMP in any situation -- the method of sweeping must be optimized for individual applications