Oulu’s annual spring-cleaning of streets began in earnest last week. The head of the maintenance department of Oulu City Public Utility Services, Eino Rajakangas, says that some walkways in the city center and surrounding areas have already been cleaned up. The goal is to have all of the streets swept and clean by the end of May. For the clean-up, the city is using its fleet of street sweeper trucks, which are working double shifts to get the streets cleaned as quickly as possible.
“We’ve mainly been cleaning the walkways so far, but we’ll sweep the roads shortly,” Rajakangas promises.
4 000 tons of sand was spread on the city’s road network over the past winter. This all means plenty of sweeping because, as Rajakangas relates, every street that has been sanded has to be cleaned. The collected sand, which cannot be re-used due to accumulated impurities, is being used to landscape the city’s snow dumping sites.
Street dust is an annual problem every spring. This year the problem has not been as bad as in years past, according to Rajakangas. Air-quality measurements within the city have shown poor readings only a few occasions this spring. The street dust problem was partially minimized this year with a new policy of spreading saline solution on the streets. Spring rains have also helped by flushing much dust into the sewers.
Rajakangas asks that the public be patient during the sweeping process.
Oulu City Public Utility Services mainly uses machinery to clean the streets, and manual labor is used only in places which the machinery cannot reach. The city’s bus stops too are scrubbed down every spring.