Fall Street Sweeping Information

Fall Sweep Information

Every spring and fall, we sweep all residential streets - to keep them clean, and to keep debris out of our lakes, streams and rivers. You can find all the details of when and how we sweep streets at www.stpaul.gov/sweep. It takes approximately four weeks to sweep all 870 miles of streets (1740 miles, if you count both sides of the street). Our goal is to collect as much organic matter as possible preventing it from entering our sewers, and polluting our rivers, lakes and streams.

The Art, Science, and Timing of Street Sweeping

We receive input from residents (and even biologists) about our street sweeping operation every year – many noting that it appears that we start the operation before a majority of the leaves have fallen. There are many factors that impact why we start our operations when we do, but foremost is that we have a very short window between when leaves begin to fall and when the first snow or freeze may occur. For example, our first snow fall this year came on October 27, and in 2014, the first snow fall and freeze came on November 10, shortening our window to get the work done.

We are constantly monitoring the trees, but measuring the amount of leaf drop is a very subjective process. We take into account and adjust for the different drop rates for different trees in different corners of the city. Unfortunately, the oaks, maples, aspens and cottonwoods don’t all perfectly align their schedules.

Weather, time and budget permitting, we sometimes circle back to streets swept early in the process to clean up as much of the organic matter as possible. The second pass begins only after we are able to successfully complete the first round of all streets. Crews do not post “no parking” signs for the second pass through.

Unfortunately, there is no perfect science to determine the optimal start time for sweeping, but our experience has shown that starting earlier helps ensure we can deliver the proper services to all residents in Saint Paul. 

What we need from you:

Properly Bag and Dispose Yard Waste - Please bag and dispose of your leaves and grass clippings properly. Do not sweep them into the street.  This not only protects our lakes, rivers and streams, but also helps ensure we sweep all streets on time. Sweeping up excessive debris raked onto the street slows down the process significantly. Visit www.co.ramsey.mn.us to find out how and where to drop off your yard waste.    

Not only is disposing of your yard waste properly the right thing to do for our water and to ensure the entire city gets swept, but it is also illegal to sweep leaves, grass or other debris into the street and offenders will be ticketed.

Move your car when your street is posted – We notify residents 24 hours in advance of street sweeping.  Having cars off the street helps our operation run more smoothly and ensures that we are able to get the streets as clean as possible.  Moving your vehicle is the best way to avoid a ticket.

Adopt a Drain - You can also do your part and help protect our waterways by adopting a storm drain. By keeping storm drains free of debris you help the environment, keep streets from unnecessary backups, and you will have a cleaner neighborhood. Sign up to adopt a drain at www.stpaul.gov/adoptadrain.

For more info visit www.stpaul.gov/sweep or call 651-266-9700. You can find all of our policies and an interactive map showing when we will be sweeping your street online.