Sioux Falls Street Sweepers enhance efficiency success

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Sioux Falls Public Works is trying something new that will keep city streets cleaner while saving both time and money.

That new system involves using part-time staffers that work overnight performing the daily maintenance needed to keep streets sweepers running.

Before these changes street sweepers would have to come off the streets earlier in the day so they could be fixed and maintained. Now that these changes are in place, those sweepers are on the streets for longer stretches of time.

"It's saving us days it isn’t just hours it's days each sweeping round we do," Street Maintenance Supervisor, Daniel Whipple said.

You see them out every day on the streets weaving in between cars cleaning the streets. While they're still doing the same job behind the scenes the work is being handled more efficiently.

"We basically evaluated what our efficiencies were at the time and if part of it was cleaning the sweepers they're a high maintenance machine," Whipple said.

The city of Sioux Falls' Fleet Team has hired six part-time overnight workers to change the brooms, wash the sweepers, fuel and lubricate the sweepers so they're ready for the next day.

Adding this new crew saves the street sweepers an equivalent of 14 working days during the sweeping season.

"A couple people to clean them sweepers for them was huge for us. We’re gaining lots of miles every day," Whipple said.

So far the city has saved more than $27,000 in labor without having to pull any sweepers off the road due to malfunctions.

"Maintenance is critical, it’s a $200,000 machine, a lot of moving parts," Lead Mechanic, Bob Hendrix said.

It enhances each day’s operations. Instead of shutting down a four person crew and taking 45 minutes away from sweeping they can use others to do the maintenance part of the job.

"We're actually picking up about 9,000 tons worth of material off the street each year," Whipple said.

Sweepers tell me it's not only a way to keep our streets clean but a way to keep our rivers and lakes debris free.

Sweepers are required to be cleaned every day and can take from an hour to an hour and a half to clean.

"We want increased efficiency. We want to take away the maintenance from a technician and keep him on a technical kind of job," Hendrix said.

Sioux Falls Public Works is following the lead of larger cities by doing this. Sweeping is done three times a year the third one depending on if it starts to snow in the fall.

By adding these new efficiency changes the fleet team has gained an hour or two more of sweep time a day.