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Street Sweeping

Road Operations conduct the Annual Spring Street Sweeping Program to clean all City streets of sand deposited during winter control, and other debris.

Spring street sweeping improves water quality and the environment by removing pollutants that can be transferred to downstream water bodies through urban runoff through the storm sewer system. The Street Sweeping Program also improves the cleanliness and aesthetics of City streets and parking lots.

The 2019 residential street sweeping program has been completed, including all areas that may have been missed because of parked cars.

How You Can Help

To help us provide the best service possible, please do not push sand into piles on the road as the sweeper cannot pick them up. When possible, please minimize residential street parking during this process to ensure best results.

If there are areas missed because of parked cars, staff will note such obstructions and will return at a later time.


Sweeping usually starts in end of April / early May and takes approximately 10 weeks to complete, weather permitting. The Source Water Protection zone is swept first followed by residential streets. 

The schedule adheres to the City's Source Water Protection plan, which requires optimization of the use and management of road salt, and implementation of practices to minimize the loss of salt to the environment. Crews therefore prioritize street sweeping in our vulnerable areas by sweeping the roadways in the City’s drinking water protection areas, then moving outward. See source water boundary.

Within the downtown Business Improvement Area, the streets are swept from approximately 3 a.m. – 10 a.m. 7 days a week.

Process & Disposal

Sweeping consists of a 2-part process as follows:

  1. A mechanical sweeper capable of picking up heavy sand deposits and debris makes a pass of the street, and
  2. (this could be a few days later) A second pass of the street with a vacuum sweeper to remove any fine material that may remain

Recycled Street Sweepings Pilot Program

Staff have investigated the possibility of recycling sand for winter control. After a thorough screening of the sand collected from roads, staff found that it maintained municipal standards and was suitable for re-use on roads.  In 2017, City of Barrie crews collected just over 4100 tonnes of street sweepings and were able to reuse 3600 tonnes!  By recycling the sand, the City will have a cost avoidance of almost half a million dollars and help extend the life of the landfill. Staff hope to continue to build on the success of this pilot project in 2018.

For more information please download the November 2017 presentation to City Council or watch the presentation on Rogers TV Barrie (begins at 40:00).

Frequently Asked Questions

When will my street be swept?
Street sweeping usually starts mid-May until mid-July (any updates will be posted above on this webpage) and is usually expected to be completed within the approximate 10 weeks, weather permitting.  
There was a car parked in front of my residence. Will the City of Barrie come back and sweep this area?

The City asks resident to minimize residential street parking, when possible, during this process to ensure best results. City staff will note such obstructions and will return at a later time.

The sweepers left a pile of sand that I swept up on the road. Why?
Sweepers are designed to sweep only normal build up of sand on the curb edge. Any sand that is swept into a pile by the resident cannot be swept up by the sweeper, as this machine is not capable of doing so. Please leave sand in its normal state, as the sweepers can make the most production out of this.
Where do the sweepers start each year and how is this determined?
City street sweeping will commence by sweeping the roadways in the City’s drinking water protection areas, then move outward in zones.
The sweeper went by and I’ve been left with a bigger mess than before. Why?
Sometimes the actual sweeping process is a two part process. The first sweeper that goes by is designed to pick up the bulk of the sand. Following that, another sweeper will pick up the finer sand and do a cleanup pass.

Another reason could be a result of rain. If the roads become too wet the sand tends to get spread around, appearing to be messy. The City will not sweep in the rain for this very reason, but if the City is commencing sweeping and it starts to rain, the sweeper will come back and re-sweep the area.
My street was not swept. Why?
Un-assumed streets within the City of Barrie are not swept by City of Barrie forces; they are the responsibility of the Developer. If your area is un-assumed, please call your Developer regarding the condition of your street. Also, streets that are under guaranteed maintenance through the Developer are not swept. Again, please contact the Developer of your area.
Why not store the collected sand to be spread around next year?

It was previously believed that the sand that crews put down has "edges" and assists in providing traction, and that the sand loses its edges after it has been applied and actually becomes round and smooth, which does not promote traction.

However, at a November 2017 meeting of City Council, the Roads Department shared a presentation that showed how the City will help to avoid almost half a million dollars during the 2017/18 season by collecting and recycling road sand as part of winter control.

The sand that is collected from roads during the annual spring street sweeping program has typically been disposed of at the landfill. In the fall of 2016 staff looked into the possibility of recycling the sand for future winter control use. After a thorough screening of the sand that was collected from roads, staff found that the sand still maintained municipal standards and was suitable for re-use on roads. By recycling the sand collected during street sweeping, the City will have a cost avoidance of almost half a million dollars and help extend the life of the landfill.

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