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Clearing the path of destruction
1) The dealership that sells and services Joplin's street and sewer cleaning equipment asked Elgin Sweeper to donate a waterless Eagle sweeper to clean areas of the city that had lost water service after a category EF5 tornado hit in 2011. Key Equipment & Supply Co. Manager Jeff Miles then asked for volunteers to drive from their homes in and around Kansas City and St. Louis to Joplin to operate the sweeper.
2) Working in shifts, dealership employees who responded to their manager's request for volunteers drove to Joplin two days a week to operate a waterless sweeper public works needed to remove small debris but couldn't afford to buy or rent. Volunteers cleared 30 cubic yards of debris a day, taking about six hours to fill a 30-cubic-yard container. In six weeks, they gathered 400 cubic yards.
3) The dealership manager himself, Jeff Miles, often woke at 5 a.m. to make the 2 ½-hour drive from Kansas City, Kan., to Joplin, Mo. “I'd meet with public works so they could show me where they needed me most that day. When we got to the spot, volunteers and city workers drove ahead of me in a truck to push large, heavy objects out of the way so the sweeper could work as efficiently as possible.”
4) “I swept everything from car mufflers to parts blown off houses,” says Miles of the Eagle, a waterless street sweeper that Elgin Sweeper of Elgin, Ill., introduced in 2004. Because the unit uses a powerful vacuum fan, enclosed brooms, and a long-life filter instead of water to suppress dust, public works deployed it in areas where hydrants were destroyed or damaged beyond use. EPA monitored dust, asbestos, and levels of other potentially harmful materials during this phase of debris removal because of the possibility of increased airborne particles. The sweeper helped maintain normal air quality by collecting and containing coarse particulate matter between 2.5 and 10 micrometers.
5) One-third of Joplin was destroyed when a tornado hit the Missouri city in 2011. Despite the devastation, cleaning up has gone more smoothly than Public Works Operations Manager Tim Nyander could have hoped thanks to equipment and expertise donated by one of his dealers. “We made quite a bit of progress between the city and all the volunteers, and it went much faster than expected,” he says. “We've always had a great relationship with the dealership and we really appreciate all their help.”Key Equipment & Supply Manager Jeff Miles' advice: Build and maintain a solid relationship with your street, sewer, refuse, and recycling equipment dealer before disaster strikes. “When time is of the essence and resources are limited or stretched thin, the dealer can provide solutions and equipment, parts, service support, and — in Joplin's case — a small army of hard-working volunteers to step in and help out,” he says.
— Giles (firstname.lastname@example.org) is sweeper product manager for Elgin Sweeper, Elgin, Ill.
To learn more about waterless sweeping, click here.
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