Large Event Cleanup Is A ‘Team Sport’
Organization and preparation prove key to servicing public gatherings.
Keeping waste and litter under control at major sporting events that attract thousands of spectators and participants requires meticulous planning, attention to detail, and most importantly, a team effort from supervisors and cleaning crews.
Everyone needs to be on top of their game to keep trash and litter out of sight and mind.
At the U.S. Senior Open held in Omaha, Nebraska, more than 150,000 spectators and TV crews lined manicured fairways and greens kept liter-free by two shifts of 13 cleaning specialists and supervisors.
The set routine required patrolling the golf course daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. throughout the week-long event.
Building A Team
The majority of team members were recruited especially for the event from the State of Nebraska – Eastern Service Area, which is a member of ResCare Workforce Services, a leading provider of job-related education, counseling and employment assistance in the U.S.
An appreciation of golf and a desire to work outdoors were among the criteria used in selecting employees for the event.
The dedicated temporary staff was supported by full-time employees and supervisors from other accounts who volunteered to give up a few of their days and evenings to help clean up the hospitality venues where the volume of refuse was especially heavy.
Advanced planning and preparation was essential to managing the volume of refuse from the event that was televised to 50 countries on ESPN2 and NBC TV.
The project involved policing more than 1,400 trash receptacles located around the course, as well as 13 grandstand areas, dozens of hospitality tents and two club buildings.
Everything from credentialing and scheduling to what to wear has to be addressed for major events.
Security was tight at the Senior Open, so cleaning staff were issued vendor identification badges to wear along with employer photo ID credentials.
Each employee was required to wear golf attire with U.S. Senior Open and FBG logos.
Open-toed shoes and jeans were prohibited.
Prior to the start of the Open, crew members were led on a walk-through to familiarize them with logistics and the areas under their care.
A nearby airport was the check-in point where employees met to receive their credentials before being transported to the golf course on shuttle buses.
The 18-hole golf course was divided into three zones where the cleaning crews were assigned.
Three cleaners were assigned to the front nine holes with their six grandstands, while 10 cleaners tended to two zones covering the back nine holes where dozens of hospitality tents, two permanent club buildings and seven grandstands were located.
Once inside the golf course, cleaning crews used golf carts to remove refuse and walkie-talkies to communicate with their supervisors.
Trash receptacles around the grandstands, concession stands and hospitality tents were checked a minimum of twice daily.
Crews continually checked the hospitality tents and suites where deliveries were made throughout the day and night and were constantly involved with picking up litter around the course.
Crews were also alerted to expect the unexpected.
Since the golf course wasn’t lighted, evening crews were required to navigate between hospitality tents and other venues in the dark.
They were also on call to remove packing materials and boxes whenever there were unannounced deliveries to these venues.
The final day of the tournament saw 34,354 spectators in attendance, setting a record for the highest daily attendance at any sporting event in Omaha’s history.
A Bicycle Race
Early planning was also a requirement at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa, when it was chosen as an overnight stopover for thousands of cyclists participating in the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI).
Preparation for RAGBRAI involved careful coordination of janitorial services with Hawkeye officials, beginning two months prior to the event.
Since the event was held during summer break, the community college was able to dedicate most of its 25-member custodial staff to providing a wide range of assistance wherever needed.
Prior to the event, custodial crews constructed temporary water fountains and provided plumbing fixtures so that portable showers could be brought in to be used by the cyclists who stayed in tents or campers on campus grounds.
Cyclists with special needs who required air conditioning were also housed inside a building kept open for their use.
Golf carts and all-terrain utility vehicles were used to transport supplies to RAGBRAI-approved vendors and cyclists and to empty trash receptacles placed at pre-determined locations throughout the campus.
Cleanup crews were also on call throughout the event bringing ice to cyclists with strained muscles or injuries.
An Overnight Event
Cleanup crews also participate in the annual Relay for Life of Black Hawk County, which is held at Hawkeye Community College to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
During the event, cancer survivors and their families set up tents in the campus courtyard where various activities are held, including live music, food venders, a relay and fireworks that last well past midnight.
Custodial staff remain on-site throughout the night to keep trash containers emptied and to assist participants wherever needed.