Street Sweeping provides two primary benefits to the City. The more obvious benefit is the collection and removal of paper, leaves, and other visible debris that collect in the gutters. This debris can block storm water facilities, causing localized flooding during heavy rains. An equally important, but less visible benefit is the removal of metal particles and other hazardous waste products left by passing vehicles. Although they are virtually invisible, these particles can be extremely harmful to fish and other wildlife if they reach our creeks, rivers, beaches and bays. Street sweeping is an effective method of removing both the large and microscopic pollutants that collect on City streets. This sweeping also serves as one of our Best Management Practices (BMP) to control and improve water quality. Motorized sweeping removes an average of 220,000 lbs. of debris from the street before it goes into the storm drains. For more information on how to protect our beaches and bays visit the Think Blue website.
San Diego is one of the few cities of its size in the United States that still sweeps residential areas. We are committed to sweeping all routes at least once a month, weather permitting. We currently have over 2,700 miles of improved streets that are included in the sweeping program. We have 20 power sweepers and operators, with a support staff of truck drivers and parking enforcement officers. Our goal is to sweep residential streets once per month and commercial streets once a week. If your assigned sweeping day falls on a scheduled City holiday it will not be swept. The route will be swept on the next assigned sweeping day.
Motor Sweeping Routes
Some streets are posted with 'no parking' signs that state the day of the week and time of day the street will be swept. The Storm Water Department will issue parking citations enforcing the no parking time restrictions. The routes are designed with time limits to allow enough time for the sweeper to complete the miles assigned to a specific route, which varies in length. These restricted routes average between 20 to 30 miles in length and are cleaned frequently.
These types of routes have no signs and are not enforced. Residents are asked to voluntarily move their cars on sweeping days.
The Storm Water Department performs many other special cleaning operations. We sweep bike ways, center medians upon request, and before and after many community events.