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Clean Streets, Clean Water: Introducing the Rice Creek Watershed District’s Enhanced Street Sweeping Study

The Rice Creek Watershed District is excited to announce the approval of an enhanced street sweeping study, a proactive step towards cleaner streets and cleaner water! Responding to several city requests for support in implementing more robust street sweeping practices, the district is committed to identifying high-priority areas where our water resources will benefit the most from increased sweeping efforts. Once the study is complete the District hopes to support our partners in the implementation of enhanced sweeping in the high priority areas identified in the study.

Photo from NBC

Why Street Sweeping Matters

Street sweeping is an important method for managing stormwater and protecting our water quality in lakes and rivers. Research from the University of Minnesota shows it effectively reduces excess phosphorus, which helps prevent harmful algae blooms in our lakes. This phosphorus primarily comes from debris like leaves and grass clippings that fall onto the streets.

When streets are swept, the machines pick up trash, leaves, dirt, and sometimes left over road salt. If these materials are left on the street, stormwater can wash them into storm drains, which then flow into our rivers and lakes causing water quality issues that can be harmful to fish, people, and animals.

What to Expect from the Study

The newly approved study will focus on pinpointing high-priority areas within the district where enhanced street sweeping can have the greatest impact. By analyzing current practices and assessing areas with significant stormwater runoff, the study will provide valuable insights into where we should concentrate our efforts.

Looking Ahead

As the study rolls out, stay tuned for more information on its findings and the future implementation of enhanced street sweeping in our district. We look forward to bringing these benefits to our communities, helping to ensure cleaner streets and cleaner water for everyone.

The Rice Creek Watershed District is committed to supporting our cities in their efforts to improve street sweeping practices. We can’t wait to see the positive improvements to water quality this initiative will bring!

Forest Lake Street Sweeper funded partially by RCWD in partnership with Comfort Lake Forest Lake WD, Clean Water Fund, City of Forest Lake

Want to learn more about street sweeping for water quality? Visit the links below:

University of Minnesota Street Sweeping for Water Quality YouTube Video

University of Minnesota Clean Sweep Program

Street Sweeping for Stormwater and Water Quality YouTube Video

Past RCWD Street Sweeping Project:

RCWD has participated in street sweeping projects in the past but only by partially funding the equipment. Benefitted waterbodies included Clear Lake in RCWD. Learn more about this project here at Comfort Lake Forest Lake Watershed District’s website.