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Street Sweeping and Vacuuming

The Street-Sweeping program was initiated by the Department in the Spring of 1999. This program is designed to: remove winter abrasives from the roadway surface; improve appearance and safety; reduce maintenance costs; remove storm related debris from the travel-ways; clean out the drainage-ways to assure positive drainage; and reduce pollutants from entering the Chesapeake Bay. An unusually mild winter coupled with minimal use of abrasives and a "wet" spring often preclude the need for street-sweeping. Roadways are monitored by Highway Foremen and prioritized through a rotating weekly schedule between the four (4) maintenance service areas. To request this service, contact the County Highways Division at (301) 475-4200 or fill out our on-line Maintenance Request Form.


Keep curbs, gutters and streets clean; prevent storm pipes, inlets and roadside ditches from becoming clogged; assist with capital and maintenance construction and repair projects; control loose stones after surface treatment operations; assist other Departments on an as needed basis; and improve customer relations. We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the Program to ensure the proper amount of service is being provided and that the goals of the Program are met.


A vacuum truck was purchased in the Fall of 1998 and became operational in April 1999. The services are planned to extend to the ramps, aprons, parking lots, taxiways and runway of the St. Mary's County Airport. Revenues may also be received through the rental of the unit to other jurisdictions for use in their maintenance programs. The County Highways Division currently has two (2) tractor-mounted power broom (sweeper) units that can be utilized for small residual clean-up operations. Street sweeping can also be performed through the rental of a broom truck which can operate in tandem following berm removal operations to assure the pavement is free of debris prior to pavement overlay or line striping. In addition, street sweeping is often performed to remove loose stones from the roadway after slurry seal and/or surface treatment overlays have been allowed to "set". Sweeping operations are typically performed in the cool morning hours or in wet conditions.

Levels of Service

The program is designed to have four (4) levels of service: Level 1-Heavily developed commercial and central business districts with considerable vehicular and pedestrian traffic; Level 2-Neighborhood business districts and village centers with moderate vehicular and pedestrian traffic; Level 3-Residential areas with limited throughway and pedestrian traffic; and Level 4-Neighborhood streets which are used for local purposes only.

Leaf Collection

The need to further develop this program to include a residential leaf collection program will be assessed in the future. The efficiency of cleaning roadside ditches and removing storm debris from the travel-ways will be immediately realized. The vehicle will equipped with a "snoot" which has the ability to un-clog culverts and storm drain systems. At present, residents are directed to the St. Andrew's landfill facility where yard waste and leaf collection debris is accepted. The material is ground into mulch and predominantly used as a topsoil/field dressing in the roadway maintenance effort.

Water Supply

In accordance with Chapter 113-11(d) of the Code of Public Local Laws of St. Mary's County, the Department of Public Works & Transportation has been authorized by the Metropolitan Commission to withdraw fire hydrant water. The use of hydrant water and meter assembly requires written authority through the issuance of a Tri-Annual Water Use Permit by the Commission's Engineering Department. A monthly meter reading is phoned into the Commission by the 25th of each month and billed accordingly. Water shall not be withdrawn from the following water systems; Birch Manor, Fenwick Manor, King-Kennedy, St. Clements Shores, Laurel Ridge, Wilderness Run, Leonardtown and Mt. Pleasant Water Company. Permit # 43447320 was issued on May 26, 1999. For more information contact METCOM representative Mr. Jim Young at (301) 373-4733 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

On August 27, 1999 the Department received approval from the Metropolitan Commission ( Effluent Permit #SM9955004) to use recycled treated wastewater for its highway maintenance vacuum truck and hydroseeding operations. This cooperative effort was in direct response to the statewide drought conditions declared by the Governor.