Expanding the SMC street sweeping study’s scope to include microplastics

During the SMC’s street sweeping effectiveness study, researchers planned to pilot an approach for quantifying the effectiveness of routine sweeping in preventing a suite of traditional stormwater pollutants from entering storm drains.

But shortly after the study was conceptualized, the City of Santa Barbara expressed interest in building on the core study design to also investigate street sweeping’s effectiveness at removing microplastics.

Microplastics have come into focus in recent years as a priority pollutant to monitor and manage, with emerging research finding that microplastics exposure can adversely affect the health of humans and aquatic organisms.

Thus, the expanded SMC study will probe whether street sweeping also has the potential to be effective as a microplastics source-control strategy.