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Street sweeping helps businesses go green

Going green is on the mind of Sweep a Lot LLC, a local professional street sweeping service and maintenance company.

“There’s a lot of good locations out there, not just for aesthetics but also the environmental impact,” said owner Robert K. Vlacich, of Montoursville. “We’re so close to the Susquehanna, which of course connects the Chesapeake. All that snow water runoff that we see goes right in.”

The business idea hearkens back to when his son was in elementary school and started cleaning parking lots for Earth Day, he said.

“That was an eye-opening experience,” said Vlacich. “I get it, it’s good for the kids to learn to clean up but a parking lot shouldn’t look like that. It just kind of always stuck in my head.”

With recent stormwater mandates, many businesses are looking to limit their impact on the environment by utilizing a sweeper, undoubtedly they come to Vlacich who operates the region’s first private sweeping service.

“I got sick and tired of seeing trash everywhere,” said Vlacich, who’s done work from large industrial or commercial parking lots to lots for small businesses. “I think a lot of people don’t realize where those stormwater drains go — right to the river.”

Businesses can not only utilize a sweeper for environmental reasons, but also for their own lot’s benefit.

“Whenever you have debris built up on the pavement, every time you drive over cinders or stones, it grinds into the pavement and tears it apart,” he said. “By keeping it cleaner, the parking lot lasts longer.”

Unlike most street sweepers, which brush debris towards the center and move it into a hopper, Vlacich’s regenerative sweeper effectively acts as a vacuum to remove the fine sediment that would normally be swept away in heavy rainfall events.

A clean lot also helps businesses make a good first impression, he said.

“That’s the big thing I stress. You walk up to a restaurant and the parking lot is a mess, it just kind of sets the tone,” said Vlacich. “If a business doesn’t take enough pride in their external appearance as you’re walking in, do they really care about their customers?”

Sweep a Lot does everything from a one-time clean up to keeping a routine cleaning schedule.

“We try to keep it flexible and give a good quality of service and keep it at a competitive price,” he said. “If the parking lot is empty at night, we do it at night. If it’s on a Sunday, we do it on a Sunday.”

In the future, Vlacich said he hopes to expand his business, in part with municipal contracts as boroughs and townships move away from buying their own street sweeper.

“I’m curious to see where it goes,” he said. “As demand increases, I’ll be here for it.”

Sweeps a lot currently operates in an hours drive radius of the city.

Those interested may contact Vlacich at 570-916-0551, SweepAlot.PA@gmail.com, or www.facebook.com/SweepALotPA.

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