Most people think parking lot sweeping in homeowners associations or condos is for aesthetic reasons only. In the retail world, empty bottles, paper bags, cigarette butts, and overflowing trash bins can drive the decision of a consumer. The same holds true for a potential homebuyer as they pull into a community parking lot.
Maintaining clean parking facilities shouldn’t just be a good idea. It should be a requirement.
While aesthetics are important, there’s another reason why parking lot sweeping is a necessity. The environment is suffering, and water and air are the main resources that are being polluted.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists sweeping as one of the best management practices to preventing water pollution.
Municipalities consider street sweeping one of the most economical ways to cut down the amount of sediments, trash, bacteria, and vegetation that build up on streets and parking lots and eventually run off into water systems. Keeping storm drains and catch basins clean also reduces the chances of street flooding during heavy rainstorms.
Meanwhile, according to a report by the EPA, the main cause of air pollution is airborne dust from roads, construction sites, or from activity in parking lots, even during sweeping.
Environmental regulations are requiring more specific efforts to eliminate sources of contamination to streams, lakes, and air, like fugitive dust—a term used to describe very small, dust-like particles that linger in the air. Sweeping contractors must maintain maximum particle matter emissions of less than 10 micrometers (smaller than one-tenth the diameter of human hair), known as PM10, as the standard for sweeping and material removal to ensure low pollution levels.
According to the EPA, exposure to high concentrations of particulate matter, including airborne dust, affects breathing, aggravates existing respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, and can cause lung damage and certain types of cancer. The EPA’s fugitive dust control measures require that dirt tracked by vehicles onto paved surfaces be promptly removed to prevent particulates from being ground up and become airborne as moving cars stir the fugitive dust into the air.
Sweeping parking lots will keep your property compliant with local, state, and federal environmental regulations, minimizing air and water pollutants. You can avoid costly fines associated with noncompliance while making a commitment to the environment with regularly scheduled parking lot sweeper service.
The asphalt and concrete surfaces in parking lots or garages are a significant investment, so it makes sense to maintain them by sweeping regularly. Sweeping removes abrasive dirt, sand, and other debris that diminishes the service life of your parking area’s pavement, striping, and seal coating. The cost of repaving a parking lot or repairing a parking deck often far exceeds the cost of a regular sweeping schedule.
Regularly scheduled sweeping also safeguards against any water that might pool in cracks or holes in the pavement, causing asphalt to deteriorate, or causing someone to trip and fall. Sweeping parking lots also reduces the need for extensive interior floor maintenance by minimizing the amounts of dirt and particulates that are tracked inside.
Finding the right contractor
Do your research and seek out sweeping contractors that have experience. Any reliable sweeping contractor, for example, is PM10-certified. Contractors affiliated with sweeping associations like 1-800-SWEEPER or the North American Power Sweeping Association take training of their employees seriously and have safety programs in place to ensure their contractors provide a high quality of service.
Also, look at the equipment: Is it new, or is it old and rusted? Companies that invest in their equipment are more than likely investing in their employees, who will perform the job more efficiently.
Sweeping might look like a big expense up front, but in the long run, it will extend the life of your pavement, give you great curb appeal for your current and potential residents, and aid in helping the environment.
HOAresources.com explores questions and comments from community association members living in condominiums, homeowners associations, and housing cooperatives. We then assemble trusted experts to provide practical solutions to your most commonly asked, timely questions. We never use real names, but we always tackle real issues. Have a question or comment about your community association? Submit here for consideration:
Join CAI’s online community for access to the industry’s most in-demand community association resources.
Thousands of your peers are sharing advice.