Sep 06, 2019

Thurston County Tackles Sewer Cleaning Challenges

The water recycling system on the Vactor 2100 Plus reuses water already in the sewer to clean sewer lines.
The water recycling system on the Vactor 2100 Plus reuses water already in the sewer to clean sewer lines.

Servicing and main- taining a complex, county-wide storm sewer system can put a premium on efficient equip- ment. Thurston County, Wash., is meeting its envi- ronmental goals—and staying on budget—by deploying two combina- tion sewer-cleaning and vacuum-excavation trucks that deliver productivity and versatility. The Vactor 2100 Plus combination sewer cleaner equipped with a rapid deployment boom and an internal water-recycling system delivers enhanced speed, efficiency and perfor- mance on the job.

Located at the south end of Puget Sound, Thurston County has a population of more than 250,000. With average annual rainfall of more than 50 in., storm water management is a vital public service and an envi- ronmental imperative of the Municipal Stormwater Permit. To handle the huge volume of rainwater runoff, the county has created a storm water system comprised of less than 10,000 pipes and culverts and more than 6,000 catch basins.

Donna Eaton, Thurston County’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) crew chief for the past three years, manages a team of 14 county employees. She is responsible for scheduling all clean- ing, grouting and repair of catch basins, drywells, pipes and culverts. In addition to managing the deployment and use of the county’s combina- tion sewer cleaning trucks, Eaton also manages the operation of three street sweepers—including two Elgin Sweeper Crosswind regenerative air sweepers—that are an important component of the county’s storm water management capabilities.

“Our team includes four senior maintenance technicians who operate our two Vactor trucks—including an older Vactor 2100 Plus model—with two employees assigned to each unit,” Eaton said. “The guys say they really like the ease of use with the RBD 1015 boom because of the added reach and ease of operation. With the RDB 1015 boom, we are able to set up and tear down much faster because we don’t have to get tubes, attach them, un-attach them and put them back on the truck. And the boom gives us much better reach along with more positive vacuum suction, which cuts the time needed to clean the basins and pipes.”

The rapid deployment boom telescopes 10 ft and extends the debris hose an additional 15 ft for faster cleaning of catch basins, manholes and lift stations. The boom also can maintain a lower profile, which allows the combination sewer cleaner to clear low overhead obstacles and still reach needed depths. The RDB 1015 boom can stow with the catch basin tube attached on the truck, making it even easier to begin work immediately.

The water recycling system on the Vactor 2100 Plus reuses water already in the sewer to clean sewer lines, providing the potential to elimi- nate the need for clean water and saving thousands of gallons of clean water during every shift.

“We like the water recycler because it gives our crew more options on what they can complete in a day,” Eaton said. “Our decant center is located in the northeast part of the county, and our water sources can be miles away at times. With the Vactor water recycler, we have been able to increase our production based on the elimination of travel time to decant or to refill with water. This is a great cost savings for the county and a bet- ter solution for our environment.”

Eaton said the county's 2100 Plus unit includes a hydro-excavation kit to help with the frequent need to repair or replace pipes and catch basins in tight areas.

“The Vactor hydro-excavation attachment removes more material faster and with more accuracy and control,” Eaton said.

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