WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — You may have seen street sweepers going back and forth down Sacramento’s streets and the trail of water they leave behind, especially in the drought

According to Erin Treadwell with the city’s recycling and solid waste division, it’s a state regulation.

“Any operation that we undertake that would kick up dust, dirt or debris into the air has to be mitigated by putting water down,” she said.

It’s the same reason you see crews spraying down construction sites—they have to keep the air as clean as possible.

The city runs three sweepers nine months out of the year, and truck operators get the water from fire hydrants.

“Over the course of a year, the city sweeps about 150,000 curb miles, and in that entire year that we sweep, we use about the same amount of water that’s in an olympic sized swimming pool,” she said.

She says sweeping the streets is about more than just keeping up appearances.

“We have to meet federal and state stormwater quality permits to remove as much pollutants and particles from moving into our stormwater system,” she said.

The city collects 1,000 tons of dirt, gravel and debris every year by street sweeping. And all of that junk won’t end up clogging storm drains.

Because of the drought, the city has turned the nozzles on the sweepers down to their lowest setting.

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