Street sweeper loves the ride

AT WORK

At Work

April 05, 2006|By NANCY JONES-BONBREST | NANCY JONES-BONBREST,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Emmanuel Grant

Mechanical sweeper operator, Baltimore City

Salary --$16.16 an hour

Age --65

Years on the job --39

How he got started --Grant began working for Baltimore on a trash truck but later switched to driving the mechanical sweeper.

Typical day --Grant works from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., covering his entire 12-mile route in two days, sweeping one side on Monday then the second side on Tuesday. On Wednesday he floats, which means he goes wherever he's needed. He repeats his route on Thursday and Friday.

Longevity --Grant has worked the same route for 30 years. He said he knows many people along his route and is often greeted with waves.

Biggest change in 30 years --Better mechanical sweepers.

More environmentally sound --"We're keeping the environment clean by keeping trash out of the [Chesapeake] Bay. Years ago you had water trucks that washed the trash down the sewer. The truck I drive picks up the trash and takes it to the dump."

Hardest thing to sweep up --Leaves. Strangest thing he swept up: A dead cat. He said he went around a car, and before he saw the cat, he swept it up.

Less trash --Grant said his route seems cleaner than it was 30 years ago when he started, but added that the population has decreased over time.

The bad --Doing maintenance on the sweeper. That includes oil and filters and lubricating the machine. He's also responsible for changing the three mechanical brooms on the truck. It takes about an hour to replace one.

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