NCCo touts upgraded sewer cleaning trucks

Ken Mammarella Government, Headlines

Vactor 2100i

The Vactor 2100i recycles water while it cleans sewer lines. (New Castle County)

 

Two new sewer cleaning trucks promise to save water, energy and time by recycling cleaning water, New Castle County says in a flyer accompanying its annual sewer bills.

The new vehicles use hydraulic jets to dislodge debris, and they vacuum up debris and liquid from the sewer line into a large tank. The liquid is decanted and filtered until it’s clean enough to be reused.

The county paid $604,175.90 for each Vactor 2100i, about $125,000 greater than non-recycling trucks, according to Jason P. Zern, an engineer and senior manager with New Castle County Public Works. They join a fleet of 12 Vactor RamJet Trucks and three Vactor Jet Vac Combination Trucks.

“A typical cleaning truck will utilize 3,000-4,500 gallons of water a daily while out performing preventative maintenance,” Zern wrote in an email. “The recycling feature on these two trucks can potentially save using up to 2.3 million gallons of clean water per year, which equates to $30,000.”

“We have limited locations where we can access potable water for filling our cleaning trucks. We have found that our crews spend about 30-40% of their day traveling to these fill sites. The recycler truck can source water directly from the sewer lines, allowing the crew to continuously clean without refilling.

“We believe this improved efficiency will allow each recycler truck to clean an additional 16 miles of pipe every year versus the trucks in our existing fleet. Expanding our in-house cleaning capabilities means lower contractual costs. It would cost approximately $260,000 if we had to hire a contractor to clean 32 miles of sewer pipe.”

The trucks also sport simplified controls, a better lighting system and retractable vacuum nozzles. And the reduction in travel cuts fuel use and hence carbon emissions, the flyer points out.

“The recycler trucks will be utilized on daily preventative maintenance, focusing on areas known to have high levels of grit and debris,” he wrote. “The trucks will also be utilized on emergency corrective maintenance where their unique abilities best fit a specific task. They will also be used on the cleaning of larger-diameter sewer lines, which require more water to clean (the larger the pipe, the more water needed).”

Public Works maintains 1,800 miles of sewer pipe, serving 120,000 customers. Part of its obligations to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is to clean 500 miles of sewer pipe each year, Zern said.

“These new vehicles will greatly enhance our ability to keep these sewer assets in good condition,” he wrote.

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