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Coral Springs, Florida, Switches to Inhouse Sweeping


July, 2023

When officials purchased an Elgin Crosswind sweeper in 2021 for just over $281,000, they estimated it would cost them around $91,000/year to operate it inhouse. So, the city has been paying a company $34,000 a year to only sweep major streets, roads in the Commerce Park of Coral Springs and some of the business corridor and other roadways.

Officials recently decided to end the contract, take over the sweeping and expand it into neighborhoods so more hazardous debris (glass, car parts and trash) would be removed from roadways and less sediment was going into the city's storm drain system and ending up in canals.

CoralSpringsSweeperWithCardosa On a recent morning, Ricardo Cardoso drove what was, for him, a new street sweeper into a Coral Springs neighborhood that's never been cleaned before. "It's sucking everything up," he said, maneuvering the sweeper through the Hidden Hammock neighborhood off Wiles Road and vacuuming leaves, rocks, and other debris accumulating there for years.

The sweeper, operated by the city of Coral Springs, is doing the same things on public roads in and out of communities across 23.9 square miles of the city.

In 2021 city officials purchased the sweeper – nicknamed "Lightning McClean" – for $281,044 with the goal of improving the appearance local roads as well as clearing debris that clogs drains and causes flooding during heavy rains.

Cardoso, 57 and former UPS driver in New York City, is the main driver of the sweeper. His job is to clean all the public roads in Coral Springs – from the main streets to neighborhood cul-de-sacs to city-owned parking lots. "It's important work," Cardoso said last week, taking a visitor for a spin through the Hidden Hammock neighborhood.

Since starting on May 8, he's cleaned more than 130 tons of debris from roads – much of it from communities that, until now, didn't have street cleaning services, officials said.

Crosswind Face Right "This sweeper has given residents an addition service – something they didn't have before in their neighborhoods," said Glen Gordon, the city's streets and storm water manager.

As soon as he hit the streets, Cardosa said many residents came out to say hello and take photos. "They are happy to see this," he said. "It's a fun job."

Driving the sweeper, Cardoso said, can be tricky around cars parked on streets and trash cans left out overnight (he knows the city's trash pickup schedule and avoids going into neighborhoods on trash pickup days).

He's also been able to respond to cleaning emergencies. Recently, for example, a truck near Coral Square Mall on West Atlantic Avenue dumped a bunch of trash bags and drove off, leaving a mess on the road. It would have taken several city employees to clean the trash, but Cardoso drove the sweeper over the garbage and cleared it within minutes, he said.

Sweeper Face Left However, mostly his job is to clean the outside of as many of the city's 6,266 drains as possible. For citizens, Cardoso showed on a camera in his cab how the sweeper cleans the drains. As he approached a drain covered in leaves, the machine slowly drove over it, sucking up everything underneath. "It's all gone," he said, as he drove the sweeper to the next drain. "We did our job."

The City of Coral Springs management team clearly has come to an understanding of the importance of street sweeping in addition to the cosmetic improvement sweeping makes. Keeping material in all areas from being available to run off into waterways, as well as the importance of keeping storm drains cleaned so as to allow water to run off into them in storms, can be just as important.

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