More than 300 of Long Beach, Calif.'s 1,750 vehicles use hybrid or alternative fuels, because city leaders aggressively pursue alternative fuel vehicles for all municipal needs. So, when the city's Environmental Services Bureau needed to replace some of its aging street sweepers, it purchased 20 modified three-wheel broom Pelican street sweepers from Elgin Sweeper fueled by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

However, since the city wanted to expand the sweepers' fuel tanks to increase capacity, the manufacturer created larger versions that stretch the frame by 18 inches to accommodate an 85-gallon fuel tank — a 20-gallon increase in fuel capacity over the standard model. As a result, the units can stay on the street for a 10-hour shift without refueling, says Carlos Velasquez, the city's fleet services bureau manager. "It saves time, increases productivity, reduces wear-and-tear on the sweepers, cuts maintenance costs and, overall, results in a more efficient operation," he says.

Cleaning the city's 815 miles of streets, 200 miles of paved alleys and 165 bridges is a demanding task. "This is a battleground for equipment," Velasquez says. "We put our 20 street sweepers to the test every day, and expect them to keep giving us high productivity for five years."

Each sweeper is in service for 2,080 hours per year. The sweeper fleet cleans a cumulative total of 180,000 miles of streets and removes approximately 14,000 tons of debris each year.

Project: Street sweeper modification
Jurisdiction: Long Beach, Calif.
Agencies: Environmental Services Bureau and Fleet Services Bureau
Vendor: Elgin, Ill.-based Elgin Sweeper
Date completed: 2008
Cost: $5 million