Machine Sucks Up Trash, Underwear In Downtown Tulsa

Tuesday, November 2nd 2010, 5:22 pm
By: News On 6

Rick Wells, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- An unusual looking machine is roaming the streets of downtown Tulsa.

It's a high powered riding vacuum called MADVAC, that keeps downtown Tulsa free of litter and lost underwear?

The vacuum is operated by Unlimited Sweepers and Cleaners, the company with the contract to keep downtown clean.

"I've had people stop and want one for the house," said Shane Butts, MADVAC operator. Butts says they lose interest when they find out the thing cost $45,000.

They have had the contract to clean up downtown for about a year and a half.

Here's how it works: The city is divided into four quadrants, he spends a week in each one and the core area of downtown every day.

"A lot more foot traffic and that's what they want cleaned up so I'm assuming that's why we do it on a daily basis," Butts said.

The container that sits behind him holds the trash, there's always something unusual in there.

"The worst thing I sucked up so far was an open can of tuna in the middle of summer, didn't take long to figure it was back there," he said.

He says he won't pick up dead animals or manure, but routinely finds something unusual "A lot of underwear… not on somebody, they were in the street."

In a typical run he'll pick up a half to 3/4 of a bag full of cigarette butts and trash. The MADVAC will operate in the street or on sidewalks, and will pick up almost anything that will fit through the tube.