hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

May 1, 2014

Sweeper added to street fleet

Feds may require extra cleanings to prevent river pollution

By Mike LaBella
Staff Writer

---- — Streets and roads in the city should be looking cleaner this year now that the city has added a third street sweeping machine to its aging fleet.

The new $160,000 Elgin street sweeper recently purchased by Haverhill has an improved 360-degree visibility for the driver, a more powerful broom system to pick up debris in the streets and a filtration system to collect airborne dust while in operation, officials said.

The machine was bought with money from water and sewer fees paid by residents and businesses.

Mayor James Fiorentini announced the acquisition of the new machine last week.

Fiorentini said that last year, the city’s two main sweepers picked up more than 600 yards of sand and debris. He said the sweepers operate Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon, when weather permits. A third machine serves as a backup, the mayor said. The city also has a small sidewalk/parking lot sweeper.

“Maintaining our streets to keep them free of debris is important to maintain safe roadways,” Fiorentini said.

Beginning May 12, a private company the city hired will be cleaning most of the streets in Bradford. Fiorentini said the city does not have the manpower to do the work at this time.

“If we have enough money left in the budget, after they do Bradford they’ll do parts of the Mount Washington area,” he said.

Fiorentini said money from the downtown paid parking program will allow the city to sweep all of the municipal parking lots in the downtown area. The work is expected to begin this week.

He added that the new machine supplements the work being done by the older machines and gives the city the ability to keep its equipment updated and functioning properly.

In addition to clean streets being a quality of life issue, the mayor said there is the potential for federal storm water mandates that may require the city to clear its streets of sand twice a year so that less of it gets into the storm water collection system. That system allows water to go into the Merrimack River during heavy rains. The federal government is requiring the city to make changes to the system to prevent river pollution.

“Those storm water requirements, which have not taken place yet, will, or could, eventually require us to sweep every street in the city twice, and inspect and clean every storm drain every year, but right now there is no such mandate,” he said.

The mayor said that historically, street sweeping has taken place in the inner part of the city.

“Over the past few years we’ve expanded the number of streets we sweep,” he said.