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A Sweeping Partnership

Protecting Seattle and the Earth Together

Seang Ngy (Street sweeper)

We can do more together for the Earth than on our own.

A unique partnership between SPU and SDOT is the foundation for one of the most cost effective ways to protect our local water bodies from pollution: street sweeping.

Metals from vehicle brake pads, tires, engines and organic compounds from vehicle exhaust are a few of the most common metals are removed during sweet sweeping. Not to mention, tree leaves and pine needles are also swept up because they stimulate algae growth, which depletes oxygen in our waterways.


Last year, the street sweeping team covered over 10,000 broom miles. 131 dry tons of pollutants were prevented from entering our waterways or being treated at the wastewater treatment plant – which turns out to be a costly alternative.

Street sweeping is a cost effective way to reduce water pollution, and is anywhere from 4 to 10 times less costly than building a conventional water-quality treatment facility.

Thanks to city partnerships, SPU and SDOT are expanding their existing 33 routes to 43 routes in 2016. It’s tough not to get swept away by the possibilities!

Photo: Seang Ngy poses after a street sweeping run through the Rainier Valley. Seang and his colleagues helped remove 131 dry tons of pollutants from Seattle roadways last year.