Transforming Urban Cleanliness: How Municipalities Benefit from Mechanical Street Sweepers

Clean City Scape with Park view

It’s not just about picking up litter. Cities need to know exactly what they’re dealing with and how best to clean streets up. Debris accumulates on our streets from a mix of sources – automotive activities, industrial and residential areas, and natural elements. And, includes everything from litter and leaves to fine particulate matter. 

Mechanical street sweeping is beneficial because it is more than just keeping streets looking clean – street dirt often contains harmful toxins. Heavy metals from tire and brake wear, exhaust fumes, and industrial and residential waste can become airborne with traffic. This is harmful to our respiratory health and even worse, can wash into our waterways

Because of this, street dirt poses a serious risk to both animals and humans. This guide will outline how investing in mechanical street-sweeping technology to maintain cleaner and safer environments is more beneficial than you may think.

An understanding of what makes up the dirt on our roads can help us better understand how technological advancements in mechanical street-sweeping equipment help create a healthier urban environment. 

Clean City Scape with Park view

Environmental Benefits of Street Sweeping

It might not be obvious, but street sweeping is essential to reducing pollutants – not only protecting air quality but also water quality in urban areas. 

Pollution Control and Air Quality Improvement

Street dust accumulation is the source of 85% of ambient airborne particulate matter, which is linked to a number of harmful health impacts. With the application of medium particulate filters, high-efficiency sweepers are modified to control the loss of fugitive dust smaller than 60 μm. 

Three types from Elgin Sweeper Company are “high-efficiency” sweepers: the Waterless Pelican (mechanical), Waterless Eagle, and the Crosswind 1. In that it draws air from the hopper and transfers it to an external container, the Crosswind 1 and the TYMCO DST-6 are comparable. 

The Crosswind 1 uses a series of filter bags instead of filter cartridges, which are said to remove over 99% of particles as small as 0.5 μm. 

Overall, sweeping decreases the overall mass amount of road dust particles that were thoracic-sized (less than 10 µm) by 76% on average.

Water Quality Protection

In Canada, stormwater runoff can carry harmful substances into rivers and lakes which affect local ecosystems and water supplies. 

Street sweeping equipment prevents pollutants from entering storm drains and waterways by removing leaves, debris, and other waste materials from the roads. 

The following debris is removed by street sweeping from parking lots, streets, curb gutters, and other sizable surfaced areas:

  • Sand
  • Salt
  • Green trash, such as clippings from grass and hedges
  • Garbage
  • petroleum-based goods
  • Plastic and metal

When streets are regularly swept, it reduces the number of pollutants like oils, heavy metals, and trash entering Canadian waterways. 

Benefits of Hiring a Professional Street Sweeper

Technology and equipment make a big difference in the efficiency of street sweeping. 

Professionals who use equipment with new technologies can reduce urban street pollution – with an annual total of suspended solids and associated pollutants potentially reduced by up to 80%.

Efficiency and Effectiveness

When we hire professionals we look for things like equipment quality, performance, and reviews – the same holds true for street sweepers. A professional equipped with commercial-grade equipment brings expertise and efficiency to the cleaning task at hand.

Powerful and task-specific sweepers ensure thorough cleaning and remove even the most stubborn debris and litter. That’s because a professional follows a systematic approach based on years of experience to get the job done correctly. 

Modern sweepers are equipped with advanced features like high-efficiency vacuum systems, adjustable brooms, and precision water sprayers, which ensure better cleaning. It’s important to find professional operators who are skilled in managing intricate machinery and navigating metropolitan environments.


Professional street sweeping services are an investment that can offer significant long-term cost savings for municipalities.  For instance, there are severe stormwater pollution restrictions in California, and infractions result in fines of $500 to $10,000 per day

Since regular sweeping prevents stormwater pollution it helps to ensure compliance and avoid costly penalties. 

Cleaner streets mean less wear and tear on road surfaces and drainage systems, extending their lifespan and reducing the need for expensive repairs, and that’s the kind of cost reduction that has a huge impact on cost.

Maintaining Compliance

The City of Toronto staff realized, through air quality modelling, about the hazards present in the air from fine particulate matter. 

They hired a professional street sweeping service to help maintain compliance with local air and water quality requirements.

The Clean Roads to Clean Air project established a procedure that allowed for the quantitative assessment of a street sweeper’s capacity to both “not pollute” the air and maintain clean streets.

Professional street sweeping services are well-versed in environmental regulations and compliance standards. They help municipalities meet legal requirements to avoid potential fines related to pollution control and waste management.

Electric Sweepers – Are They Worth It?

Urban areas benefit greatly from the use of electric street sweepers. Because of their zero-emission operation, air pollution is greatly reduced, making streets cleaner and healthier for both pedestrians and inhabitants. 

And by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, these vehicles help to mitigate climate change.


Key Benefits of Electric Sweepers

  1. Environmental Impact: Electric street sweepers reduce emissions and lower air pollution for a healthier environment. This aligns with Canada’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change.
  2. Noise Pollution: Electric street sweepers are quieter to operate than their diesel counterparts, which helps to lessen noise pollution in cities.
  3. Cleaning Power: An electric street sweeper guarantees the complete elimination of pollutants, trash, and waste from roadways. It raises standards for general hygiene and cleanliness. Plus, using electricity lowers operational expenses over time since it is often less expensive and more stable than diesel fuel.


Electric VS Diesel Chart


The Top Street Sweeping Brand

Joe Johnson Equipment has a rich inventory of leading street sweepers available. Elgin street sweepers play a vital role in improving air quality, lowering pollution, and safeguarding waterways. 

These sweepers are designed to handle various municipal applications, from routine street cleaning to tackling heavy-duty tasks. 

And the best thing is, you can count on Joe Johnson Equipment and Elgin sweepers to incorporate the latest technologies and maximize performance and reliability.

Elgin Pelican

Elgin Pelican Street Sweeper

The Elgin Pelican street sweeper is known for its sweeping path versatility. That makes it a good fit for any surface condition. It’s a go-to for demanding street cleaning tasks because of its unique ability to handle heavy compacted dirt and bulky debris. 

Elgin Eagle


white elgin eagle street sweeper

If you’re looking for a fast and reliable street sweeper, the Elgin Eagle offers maximum sweeping speed and large hopper capacity. It also has a superior dust suppression system and the title of one of the most effective sweepers on the market. 

Elgin Crosswind


Elgin Crosswind cleaning an industrial complex.
The Elgin Crosswind is the market leader featuring innovative single-engine technology. Plus. it is also an eco-friendly solution and suited for municipalities passionate about sustainable options.

Elgin Whirlwind


white elgin whirlwind vacuum sweeper

The Elgin Whirlwind is made to handle even the most difficult sweeping situations. Its distinctive suction design and quick sweeping speed make it an extremely efficient model that works well in Canada’s diverse urban environment.

Keeping Streets Clean with Joe Johnson Equipment

A graphic emphasizing JJE's support to sustainability solutions with an image of two hands holding a blue and green paper sphere to symbolize earth.


For products, rentals, and training used in infrastructure maintenance equipment, Joe Johnson Equipment is the leading provider in North America.

Canadian municipalities can greatly benefit from the latest models offered by Elgin available through Joe Johnson Equipment. Access to the latest technology in street sweeper equipment contributes to long-term public health improvements, cost-savings, and cleaner city air and water. 

To explore the best street sweeping solutions, for assistance or further details contact us for expert advice and high-quality equipment options.

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