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What Needs Cleaning?

Source: Stormwater
Author: Joseph Lynn Tilton
Published: March 16th, 2012

For cleaning sewers or streets, these companies make the equipment to get the job done.

Just as in most modern households, vacuum technology gets the cleaning job done for street sweeping and sewer cleaning. Due to the debris collected, the systems vary a bit, but the object of the exercise is still the same: pick up debris quickly, efficiently, and in a cost-effective manner.

Street Sweepers

Elgin Sweepers, located in the Illinois city of the same name, has created a full range of sweepers for any application. Its broom sweepers range from the three-wheel Pelican, based on a design that’s been continually improved since 1914, to the 80-horsepower Road Wizard with a large hopper and water tank. Its mid-sized mechanical broom sweepers, the Eagle and the Broom Bear, are also available in alternative-fuel versions; both can run on compressed natural gas (CNG), and the Eagle also has a liquefied petroleum gas version.

The company also produces a line of air sweepers, including the low-decibel GeoVac, with an 8-cubic-yard hopper and a 330-gallon water capacity for dust suppression, and the comparably sized Whirlwind with a wide sweeping path. The Crosswind and smaller Crosswind Fury are regenerative air sweepers. Elgin also manufactures “specialty sweepers” such as the Glycol Recovery Vehicle (GRV), and the Crosswind FSX, designed for runways. In addition, both the Eagle and the Pelican are available in “waterless” versions.

Vactor, Elgin’s sister company, manufactures sewer cleaners. Its combination sewer cleaners include the 2100 Series Fan, the 2100 Series PD, and the 2103. Its product line also includes the Ramjet jetter, Fan- and PD-Hydro Excavators, and the Vaxjet.

Pick Your Particulate

Schwarze Industries Inc. of Huntsville, AL, began operation in 1974 and offers a wide range of sweepers, from models that clean parking areas to industrial sweepers and from airport runway sweeping to stormwater runoff management.

Its A-series heavy-duty regenerative air sweepers, designed primarily for highway, airport runway, and construction sweeping, come with Schwarze’s Sweeps-in-Reverse capability. The A4000, a chassis-mounted sweeper, has a 4.3-cubic-yard capacity. Compact and easy to maneuver, it does not require a commercial driver’s license to operate. The heavy-duty, chassis-mounted A7000 has an 8.4-cubic-yard hopper. The A8000 has a 5.8-cubic-yard-capacity hopper and enough height to offload directly into a dump truck. For operations interested in alternate fuels, both the A7000 and A8000 are available with CNG-power. Introduced in 2003, the A9000, with its 9.6-cubic-yard hopper, is based on the A7000. All the A-series sweepers collect PM-10 (10-micron-diameter) particulates.

Schwarze’s M-series, the M5000 and M6000, are mechanical broom sweepers. The S-series includes the light-duty S347I and S347LITE models and the S348I model, which are often used for cleaning parking lots; the customizable S348LE; the single-engine S333SE, which does not need an auxiliary engine for the sweeper; and the truck-chassis-mounted S343G and diesel-powered S343D.

Texas-Sized Cleaning

Deep in the heart of Texas (Waco), Tymco also produces regenerative air sweepers: the Model 210; the Model 435 with a 4-cubic-yard hopper and 72-inch dump height to offload debris into containers of varying sizes; and the mid-sized, dustless Model DST-4, which cleans the exhausted air of more than 99% of particles as small as 5 microns in diameter.

The Model HSP 600 controls foreign object damage with a 250-mph controlled jet of air. Tests show the HSP sweeper picks up 100% of debris at 15 mph, and it can sweep up to 25 mph. For high-dump sweeper applications, the Model 500X has a variable dump height from 2 to 11 feet, enabling it to dump into various containers. Tymco’s premiere unit, the Model 600, has a pickup head width of 87 inches and a hopper capacity of more than 6 cubic yards.

Leaves No Leaf Behind

Len Finchum, street commissioner for Noblesville, IN, purchased a five-unit fleet of Tymco Model 600s in autumn 2006. “These are the first Tymcos we’ve had. When we needed to replace our street sweepers, we tested models from a number of companies. As we do leaf pickup for our residents, we tested each sweeper for its ability to pick up small to medium piles of leaves. The Tymco 600 did the best job, hands down.”

Noblesville, located north of Indianapolis, is the second-fastest-growing city in Indiana’s fastest-growing county; Finchum’s sweepers have a lot a hard work in their future. “To keep up with this growth, sweepers are out all the time. There’s lots of construction dust. We have 220 miles of road to clean right now, but we gain about three-quarters of a mile of additional roads with each new development, and there are seven residential developments under way right now. Our city is spread out to the north and west; if we have to annex areas to connect these new developments, we can gain 2 to 4 miles of road instantly. These four-wheeled sweepers allow us to get to every area, because they can go up to 55 miles per hour, and we need that kind of speed, because five highways intersect the city.”

Although the units’ main job will be picking up the usual street grime, the mild early winter allowed Finchum to leave no leaf behind. “The 600s made a big difference already with leaf cleanups. With all the rain we had, we had no problem collecting wet leaves; that helped keep the leaves out of the storm sewers, which prevented clogs and backups. If we’d had the usual snow we get in December and January, the sweepers would have been in the garage.”

In the past, Noblesville’s residential leaf pickup required a vacuum machine and a three-man crew. “Now, we can use a 600, with just one man, the driver. We also modified an attachment that gathers the leaves under the unit to make sure they get into the vacuum. It’s like a windrow attachment, like you might see on farm equipment. Some of our employees who grew up on farms came up with that idea.”

Those who operate the Tymco 600s also like them. “This is our first sweeper fleet of all the same model,” Finchum explains. “In the past, operators had to remember which machine did what—it took them a little while to get readjusted to each unit. Now, everyone knows every machine is the same. They can concentrate more on what they have to do rather than remember how to work the unit. Our mechanics like the common fleet because they’re all the same, needing the same parts, the same oil, and so forth. So far, I’ve not heard one negative remark about these machines.”

Sewer and Catch Basin Cleaning Equipment

Marietta, OH’s Hi-Vac Corp. produces vacuum systems for a variety of applications. UltraVac’s Mobile industrial vacuum loaders can be either trailer or truck mounted. For mobile cleaning in tight spaces, Hi-Vac offers its Hi-Vac portable units, or the X-vac, also available truck or trailer mounted.

Hi-Vac’s Aquatech sewer cleaning machinery and equipment offers a range of vacuum and water jetting units for cleaning sanitary and storm sewers. Lake County Environmental of Willowick, OH, a suburb of Cleveland, has long used Aquatech units.

“This is our 12th Aquatech truck,” says CEO Rick Marucci. “We recently bought two Aquatech B15s to clean sewers.” The B15, a combination sewer cleaner and vacuuming machine, is designed for cleaning storm sewers and catch basins, among other applications.

Lake County Environmental keeps its Aquatech B15s working every day of the year. “We’re always cleaning something,” Marucci says. “We offer our services in six states—Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana. Right now we’re on a big job that will take a year and a half to complete: the city of Toledo’s sewers— close to a million feet of pipes—and Toledo has separate stormwater and sewer.”

Why do sewers need cleaning? “It’s routine maintenance, and we’re also inspecting to make sure the system is OK,” he explains. “We then take waste to designated landfills; the client gets us a manifest for dumping. There’s nothing really hazardous in the debris, but, because of where we’re working, our employees all receive shots for hepatitis A, B, and C.”

Marucci’s B15s are sewer jet and vacuum truck combination units with 120-gallon-per-minute pumps. “We automatically replace ours every five years, but I’m sure you can get 15 years out of them. Ours are specially built; we provide the truck chassis—495 horsepower is required, plus tri-axles, and 66,000 GVW [gross vehicle weight]—and Aquatech puts on the equipment. We’ve been in business since 1980, and have had other models of sewer cleaning trucks, but we’ve bought Aquatech since the mid-1980s. We buy them because of the equipment that’s on the unit. Also, their service is excellent, and our day-to-day maintenance on the units is easy. Aquatech’s the reason we get the work we do—because the machines are so heavy-duty.”

What’s an average day? “We work in the street, from manhole section to manhole section, starting at the upstream part of the city, and we work our way downstream. Sometimes we have to stop to empty the B15 daily—the unit’s capacity is 15 cubic yards of debris. Maybe emptying the truck twice a week is the minimum.”

Is large debris a problem? “Not for us, but it can screw up sewers—debris can cause a dam in the system. We also clean out storm sewers, and those can collect lots of debris. In Marion, Ohio, in some of its large open stormwater culverts, we found bicycles, car engines—we had to crane them out of there.”

GapVax of Johnstown, PA, offers a range of vacuum trucks, including the Gap SE water recycle machine, designed with high-velocity water jets to remove blockages from storm and sanitary sewer lines and catch basins. It also vacuums debris and water from catch basins. The debris is separated from the water, and then the water is filtered and can be reused for jetting, eliminating the need for an external water supply.

Super Products LLC of Milwaukee, WI, has been producing vacuum technology and equipment engineering since 1972. Its product line includes Supersucker truck-mounted industrial vacuum loaders and Camel municipal and contractor combination sewer cleaners and high-pressure jetters.

The Camel 200 sewer and catch basin cleaner includes the SuperPak Dewatering System, which allows operators to compress the material in the debris body, removing water. This allows greater collection of debris on each trip and also results in a drier, lighter load to be conveyed to the dumpsite. Along with the standard tip-to-dump unloading system (with its 50-degree dump angle), the Camel can also be equipped with a hydraulically operated ejector plate system that empties the contents without elevating the body.

As cleaning sewers often also entails inspecting the system, the Camel’s optional TV inspection camera allows the operator to remotely view pipe interiors and detect blockages and other potential problems. The Camel is available with a 500-, 1,000-, or 1,500-gallon-capacity water tank and 6-, 10-, or 16-cubic-yard debris collector body.

Located in Green Cove Springs, FL, Vac-Con also offers sewer cleaning equipment. Its combination machine series is available in capacities from 3.5 to 16 yards and uses high-pressure water cleaning for storm and sanitary sewer lines.