San Diego kicks sidewalk cleaning into overdrive with new deep cleaning program

Thomas Ave Before After

The new “Sidewalk Reset” approach is intended to remove grime from the sidewalks in downtown, beach areas, and the South Bay. Image source: The City of San Diego


SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego began a pilot program Tuesday for sanitizing sidewalks intended to help keep the city’s sidewalks cleaner for longer.

“Through evaluating the effectiveness of current efforts and creative thinking by our city and Clean Harbor crews, we’re taking cleanliness to the next level,” Mayor Todd Gloria said. “These sidewalk resets will prevent the spread of bacteria, beautify our neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for our residents and visitors.”

Since a hepatitis A outbreak resulted in 592 cases and 20 deaths in 2017, San Diego has sanitized sidewalks across the city on a regular basis to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Recently, the city increased those efforts to seven days a week due to an outbreak of shigellosis among the city’s homeless.

The city’s new “Sidewalk Reset” approach is a deep-cleaning method intended to remove grime and build-up from sidewalks downtown, in beach areas and the South Bay, with other areas being evaluated. Crews developed the new approach after noticing the regular sanitizing solution beading off the sidewalks due to build-up of grease and dirt.

Regular sidewalk sanitization efforts consist of a quick spray application of a mist containing a mixture of water and bleach to kill bacteria. The Sidewalk Reset involves a deep power washing of the sidewalk and gutter, street sweeping and removal of the water — a process that can take up to two hours per block.

San Diego’s environmental services department contracts with Clean Harbors to provide sidewalk sanitization services, as well as remove incidental hazardous waste, primarily consisting of human waste and hypodermic needles.

The city’s stormwater department assists with the street sweeping and removal of water runoff.

Categories: Health, KUSI, Local San Diego News, Politics