Reducing the Risk of Lift Station SSO

Wet wells are a frequent source of concern for most wastewater collection systems.  Systems rely on lift or pump stations to transport collected wastewater to a treatment plant.  Lift or pump stations typically include two to three pumps for redundancy that require periodic inspection and maintenance.  More often than not, the facility may only have one operable pump.  Oftentimes, the water elevation in a wet well cannot be lowered in high-flow conditions such as heavy rain periods or during tourist seasons, with only one operating pump.

Poorly maintained and operated lift stations can increase the risk of a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO).  They can accumulate a lot of sand and grit via I & I, reducing the capacity of the wet well.  The more material there is, the more frequent the pumps must start and stop due to reduced cycle times.  When material accumulates in the wet well and the lift station relies on only one working pump, the risk of SSP is increased.

USST Performing Wet Well Maintenance in Tallahassee, FL

Performing maintenance on wet wells is a problem worth solving in order to reduce pump run time and energy costs and prevent debris and material from accumulating and creating new issues downstream.  Access and confined space entry are also challenges associated with inspecting and maintaining lift stations that add to the complexity of getting the job done.

With these challenges, is there a way to restore wet well capacity easily and safely?  We believe there is.  USST has developed a new solution to restore the capacity of wet wells while they remain in full operation.  We are equipped with all the tools needed on our Combination Truck using our unique GritGone ProcessSM to get the job done safely and efficiently.  Our 49-foot reach allows us to solve most access issues, our jetter allows us to clean the structure, our vacuum removes the material on top (such as fats, oils and greases), and our downhole pump ability allows us to remove sand from the wet well while the lift or pump station remains in full operation.

Our ability to quickly switch between vacuuming and downhole pumping on the spot significantly increases our production rate by having the right tool for the job “on call.”  The typical vacuum truck must wait for a low-flow period; this is not an issue for USST.  Finally, our GritGone ProcessSM generates paint-filter dry sand, ready for disposal.

The USST crew complies with OSHA confined space regulations maintaining proper ventilation, measuring atmospheric conditions and receiving all required health and safety training.  Our team completes more than 40-hours of position-specific training with an experienced field supervisor, including space safety and awareness, fall protection, first aid training and more.

We believe restoring the design capacity of your wet well is a serious job and an important step towards reducing the risk of SSO.  Our goal is to get the job done in the safest and most efficient way possible.  Contact one of our qualified representatives to learn more about our wet well cleaning and inspecting capabilities at (844) 765-7866.

88.5 Cubic Yards Removed From WWTF

That’s More Than 17,000 Thanksgiving Turkeys!


The City of Winter Springs, Florida utilizes two wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF) to serve its population of more than 35,000 people.  136-miles of sewer mains transport all the city’s wastewater to the city’s East or West WWTF.  These two facilities combined are permitted to treat nearly 4.1 million gallons of wastewater per day.

USST Combination3® Truck at work in Winter Springs, FL

The City of Winter Springs, Florida utilizes two wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF) to serve its population of more than 35,000 people.  136-miles of sewer mains transport all the city’s wastewater to the city’s East or West WWTF.  These two facilities combined are permitted to treat nearly 4.1 million gallons of wastewater per day.

USST restored the capacity of both the East and West WWTF utilizing our GritGone ProcessSM, and both facilities were cleaned while remaining in full operation.  Our Combination truck removed approximately 88.5-CY of sand and grit and cleaned a total of 12 structures between both facilities.  Amongst those structures were aeration tanks, digesters and grit chambers.  One of the grit chambers was filled with about 10-feet of sand and grit!

Although accessing the structures was difficult, our Combination trucks are equipped with a 49-foot telescoping dripless tube system which allowed our crew to reach all structures without the need or cost of renting additional cranes.

Is your facility experiencing increased energy costs?  There may be sand and grit accumulating in your facility.  Give one of our dependable representatives a call at (844) 765-7866 or click here for a free quote.

In The USST Limelight: Paul Stephenson

Paul Stephenson, Tech I

Say Hello to Paul Stephenson,

one of our hardworking Service Technicians here at USST.  A Navy veteran and former nomad turned Floridian, Paul isn’t afraid to try new things, loves a good challenge and has been with us for more than a year and a half.  Read on to learn some other surprising details about our team member.

Hometown:  Nowhere in particular.  I lived all over the place and never lived anywhere for more than a few years due to the military, but consider Orlando, Florida my home and favorite place to live so far.

What I Do as a Service Tech I:  Ensure jobs get done efficiently and safely.  It’s important the customer is happy with the services we provide.

Favorite Aspect of the Job:  I love the challenges.  No tank is the same and every new job is a new brain teaser to figure out the best way to handle it.  When you get the job done, it’s a good feeling.

Proudest Accomplishment at USST:  When we completed a 5-day job in just 3.5-days.

Motivation to Work Safe:  For me and the crew to leave the same way we got there.

My Inspiration:  To try to be the best person I can be.

My Family Would Describe Me As:  Adventurous

Lesson From Dad That I Live By:  Doesn’t matter what job you do, do it the best you can.

Favorite Movie/TV Show to Watch:  My Name Is Earl or any movie with Will Ferrell.

My Autobiography Would Be Called:  Tales of a Nomad

First Job:  Construction

Hobbies:  Hiking, photography, and playing softball with my daughter.

#1 Place I’d Like to Visit:  Australia

Who I’d Want to be Stranded With on a Deserted Island:  My two daughters.

Surprising Talent:  I’m an artist; I enjoy photography, painting and have even tattooed myself and a few friends.

One Song That Would Play Every Time I Entered a Room:  “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang.

One Word That Describes My Dancing Ability:  Horrid

Favorite Snack:  Pickled Sausage

Another Happy Customer

Capacity Restored in Charlotte County

The Burnt Store Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) treats wastewater from more than 1,200 sewer connections in a southeastern portion of Charlotte County.  Acquired by Charlotte County in 2003, the former 0.25 millions of gallons per day (MGD) facility underwent several upgrades, including doubling its treatment capacity to 0.5 MGD, as well as enabling the facility to simultaneously dispose of reject water and excess effluent produced by the plant.

Our Combination3® truck restoring capacity of a clarifier at Burnt Store WRF..


USST removed 21-cubic yards of sand and grit from three structures at Charlotte County’s Burnt Store WRF.  Thanks to our GritGone ProcessSM, the facility remained in full operation while the debris was removed.

John Thompson Jr., Chief Plant Operator at the Burnt Store WRF says, “The project that U.S. Submergent did for us was wonderful.  They not only helped with our grant application, but their crews were very accommodating and […] professional.”

Accessing particularly tall tanks, like Burnt Store’s 30(+)-foot EQ tank, can be challenging.  Luckily, our Combination3® trucks are equipped with a 49-foot knuckle boom crane with telescoping tubes.  This eliminated the need for additional equipment on the jobsite, saving the facility valuable time and money.

Got hard-to-reach places that need cleaning?  Interested in learning more about what USST can do?  Jump on a call with one of our qualified and dependable representatives, Michael or Randy, and they can help you figure out where the problem is and how USST can get your facility back to full capacity.

Safety in Movement

We are moving fast, every day, in both our personal and professional lives.  It is during these busy times when we must focus and be extra attentive of things in motion around us, including ourselves, especially when safety is the goal.

Safety matters most when we are moving; there is a higher probability of things happening that shouldn’t.  People, places, equipment, vehicles and more are constantly on the move, meaning more risk for the individual. “Falls” is the number one cited job site fatality in 2015 according to OSHA1, followed by “Struck By Object.”

Take a glance at OSHA’s “Top 10 OSHA Citations of 2016” if you’d like to learn more about common job site violations, or to simply serve as a reminder for the future.

A culture of safety requires paying attention throughout the day, particularly when there is more to pay attention to.  Consider the different levels of effort required to pay attention while driving in good weather compared to moving fast in heavy traffic in the rain.  As our CEO, Denver J. Stutler, likes to say, “What matters most, is getting it done when it matters!”

Focused individuals lead to a focused organization, which in turn leads to a more productive and enhanced overall operations, all while maintaining safety standards.  Stay safe out there!




2,000+ Tons On Its Way Out

Hard at Work in Daytona Beach


USST disposing of nearly 150 tons of sand and grit from Bethune Point WRF.

USST disposing of nearly 150 tons of sand and grit from Bethune Point WRF.

That’s the weight of nearly 1,000 Ford F-150s!

USST is working hard to restore the capacity of the City of Daytona’s Bethune Point 13 MGD water reclamation facility.  Over 2,000 tons of material – primarily sand and grit – are estimated to be removed from the facility upon completion of this project.  After being offline for approximately two years, this facility is progressing towards being fully operational once we complete our work.

Sand and grit aren’t the only materials USST can remove from a facility.  We also have the ability to remove rags, vegetation and more from pipes, ditches and tanks.  Here in Daytona, our dependable crew removed vegetation up to eight-foot tall before working to restore the capacity of three large aeration ditches and one large aeration tank.

No job is too large for USST.  If you have questions about our capabilities or equipment, reach out to us at 844-765-7866 or email  We love a challenge!

Storm Season Is In Full Swing – Are You Prepared?

The Impact of Hurricane Floods on Wastewater Treatment Plants

With two heavy-hitting hurricanes recently battering both Texas and Florida, wastewater treatment plants across the country can learn from what’s happening in these areas to prepare for the potential impact of flooding, storm surges, and other extreme weather on their own systems.


Florida Army National Guard soldiers went door to door in Jacksonville, Florida performing search and rescue missions on September 11, 2017 after Hurricane Irma.

In addition to causing billions of dollars of damage from wind and rain, storm surges and flooding from hurricanes Harvey and Irma have wreaked havoc in cities and wastewater treatment plants along the coastlines.  In Palm Beach, Florida, crews were out maintaining and repairing lift stations before, during and after the storm in an effort to keep the town up and running.1  In St. Petersburg and Orlando, Florida, 50o,000 gallons of untreated water flowed into streets and homes after Hurricane Irma.2  Pipelines in Florida are typically designed to handle twice the amount of water they are constructed for, but no system can handle the amounts of rain or storm surges from these types of weather events.

Meanwhile in Texas, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 40 out of 1,219 wastewater treatment plants in the Houston area are out of service due to Hurricane Harvey as of Monday, September 11.  Contaminated flood waters in streets and homes continue to impact the area with high levels of E. Coli and other bacteria and toxins, creating unsafe environments and health risks as residents return to their homes.3

Flooding in Houston, August 31, 2017.

Flooding in Houston, August 31, 2017.

Wastewater treatment plants must be able to operate under any circumstance, so what can you do when storms are headed to your city?  Fortunately, both the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have published flood and storm preparation guides that may help assess your cities current and future situation.

An Emergency Response Plan is the first step in preparing for a major weather event, as well as understanding potential threats and identifying vulnerable areas within the facility.  The EPA’s Flood Resilience Guide is a great resource for preparing wastewater treatment plants for rising waters and takes you through a set of exercises to thoroughly evaluate your facility in order to put a plan in place.  The Storm Preparation Guide provided by the FDEP is a great document to help understand the threat of storms and other extreme weather events and includes a handy checklist on planning, communications, training, staff coordination, staging and more.

Imminent weather can be daunting, but having a solid plan in place and knowing your facility has the pieces in place to handle such a situation can offer peace of mind and keep your city up and running during an emergency situation.

Image 1: National Guard searching flooded waters in Florida, courtesy of U.S. National Guard
Image 2: Flooding in Houston, August 31, 2017, courtesy of U.S. Army

Debris Removed, Diffusers Unharmed

Plant capacity restored while in
full operation

USST restores the capacity of wet infrastructure safely and efficiently to provide a solution for managers responsible for the maintenance of critical wet infrastructure who are facing safety, compliance, and operational challenges.


The City of Jasper’s wastewater treatment plant was experiencing increased energy costs due to reduced capacity and treatment efficiency from accumulated sand and grit in their infrastructure.

USST restored the capacity of the City of Jaspers 1.2 MGD wastewater treatment plant by safely removing 44 tons of sand and grit from nine of their structures.

Thanks to our GritGone ProcessSM for debris removal, their facility was cleaned while it remained in full operation and the material was paint filter dry upon onsite disposal.


During the debris removal process, our dependable crew worked carefully to avoid damaging any of the facility’s diffusers.

Jasper Public Works Director, Harry Davis, was very pleased and said “the work was done in a very professional manner.”

Please reach out with any questions you may have about our technology or process, or to request a free quote. We’re happy to help!

Call 844-765-7866

Utility Maintenance: How Debris Gets Into a Facility

Ever wonder how debris gets into your facility?

The United States has between 700,000 and 800,000 miles of underground pipe that ranges from six inches to 240 inches in diameter. This aging infrastructure allows for debris to move through a waste collection system due to cracks and joints in the pipe.

Debris can be naturally occurring or litter. Natural occurring debris includes sand and grit; litter includes fats, oils and greases. Litter debris has been discarded into the wastewater by users of the system —commercial or residential.

Utility Maintenance How debris gets into a facilityDebris accumulates in structures throughout wastewater collection and treatment systems such as pipes, manholes, lift stations, wet wells, grit chambers, aeration basins, tanks, digesters and other requisite structures.

Sand and grit travel through the wastewater collection and treatment systems, ultimately ending up at the wastewater treatment plant. The material increases with aging infrastructure and can be exasperated by significant rainfall.

The accumulation of sand and grit in the aeration basin decreases capacity. This means the amount of oxygen is reduced and there is an increased use of energy and labor.

Utility Maintenance Matters

Debris issues are usually negotiated around until the adverse effects become critical. The longer the debris remains in the structure, the more challenging removal can be.

The overall risks to be considered include catastrophic, equipment and regulatory risks.

What Debris Does to Your Facility

The Problem With Debris

Debris gets into your facility through joints, seams, gaps and cracks that happen as the infrastructure (such as gravity systems and pipes) ages and shifts over time.

Let’s focus on the problematic effects debris can have on your infrastructure.

It can:

• Wreak havoc on the treatment process.
• Increase costs and reduce overall efficiencies throughout the system.
• Cause abnormal wear and tear on system components, including pumps and other mechanical components.

What Debris Does to Your Facility

Generally speaking, debris can greatly impact efficiencies of mechanical and biological systems.

Mechanically speaking, it can affect operational aspects of the collection and treatment system, including full or partial plugging of outlets and pump suctions.

When accumulated sand and grit cover air bubble diffusers on the bottom of aeration basins, the consequence is a harsh increase in energy required to deliver the air to the wastewater for aeration. This increases energy costs.

The longer debris remains in the structure, the more challenging it can be. Luckily, USST has the equipment and experience to resolve accumulated debris issues in wet infrastructure.