USST’s Comprehensive Safety Operations Program Has You Covered

U.S. Submergent Technologies’ comprehensive safety operations program sets us apart from other companies. In addition to providing our customers with thorough, personalized safety plans for each jobsite, every member of U.S. Submergent Technologies’ experienced field crew has completed more than 80 hours of safety and compliance training with ongoing on-the-job instruction. Our crews expertly operate our one-of-a-kind patented technology while making safety our top priority. 

Why a safety plan matters

A U.S. Submergent Technologies’ Health & Safety plan outlines — in detail — how we will approach the project at hand and the safety precautions that we will take while performing the work. A well-thought-out safety plan helps our crews, our customers, and our communities avoid dangerous situations, and just as important, a safety plan outlines the appropriate response in case an unexpected situation arises. 

What U.S. Submergent Technologies’ safety plans cover 

U.S. Submergent Technologies is committed to instituting and maintaining a comprehensive Health and Safety Program. The goal of our Health & Safety Program is to take the proper steps to prevent loss of life, injury, or property damage to all employees and members of the general public. U.S. Submergent Technologies recognizes that the responsibilities for safety and loss prevention must be shared by everyone.

Our plan typically includes but not limited to the following:

  • Site Specific Health and Safety Plan addressing risk assessment and hazards
  • First Aid and local first responder information
  • Transportation Plan addressing route hazards, route and fleet safety
  • Disposal Site Requirements and Compliance

Knowing the details above will ensure that all parties can get the right operators/employees involved and that everyone knows what to expect when walking onto a jobsite.

How we make safety a priority 

Paul Del Favero, longtime USST Foreman.

The versatility of the Combination3® Truck often allows us to clean tanks and pipes while in service, reducing or even eliminating the need for confined space entry, if conditions allow. However, when confined space entry is necessary, our crews take extra care to follow our Confined Space Program, ensuring that the presence of atmospheric hazards are eliminated through proper ventilation and quality air monitoring. The space is made safe prior to entering. This activity is documented on our confined space permit.

In instances when confined space entry is unavoidable, you can trust that every member of U.S. Submergent Technologies’ experienced field crew will prioritize safety and that our safety operations program will ensure that you know what to expect throughout the process. 

For questions about our safety program or inquiries regarding specific issues your facility is facing, please call 844-765-7866 or email info@ussubmergent.com.

From Lime to Lawn Chairs: Materials We Remove from Pipes and Tanks

Sand and grit removed from oxidation ditch.

We’ve seen it all: sand, grit, sludge, lime buildup, vegetation, and even larger debris such as metal handrails and lawn chairs. U.S. Submergent Technologies can remove any type of material (yes, even lawn chairs!) from wet or dry environments in a variety of structures. 

We use the extremely versatile Combination3® Truck to specialize in removing material from structures such as pipes, tanks, and lift stations while they remain in full operation, and we can also perform work in a drain-down or bypass situation when larger debris is present.

A history of solving difficult problems

Debris removed from Stormwater Box Culvert.

U.S. Submergent Technologies has tackled unique situations, including heavy lime accumulation in a large biological treatment unit, resulting in the removal of 60-tons of lime, sand and grit. We’ve successfully cleaned a tank overrun with 4-foot high vegetation sitting on an 8-foot root system. The U.S. Submergent Technologies’ crew once developed a crane attachment to be used with the Combination3® Truck’s extendable boom to reach and remove difficult rag material — and even a metal handrail — from a splitter box. 

Our experienced crew removed wood and lawn chairs from a stormwater box culvert, as well as more traditional projects, like the removal of 402-tons of sand and grit from an oxidation ditch (without a drain-down) and navigating 7,000-feet of gravity sewer while in service.

Expertise in removing a wide range of material 

U.S. Submergent Technologies has experience removing a variety of materials from all types of structures. Materials that we have direct expertise in removing, but aren’t limited to, are:

  • Sand and grit
  • Rag material
  • Sludge and biosolids
  • Wastewater residuals
  • Lime
  • Vegetation
  • Large debris
Rag material removed from splitter box structure.

Expertise in removing debris from challenging structures and situations

Our crews have quickly and safely removed debris from all kinds of environments under various conditions. Structures and situations we specialize in, but aren’t limited to, include: 

  • Tanks with high walls while in operation
  • Large-diameter pipes in submerged or surcharged conditions with no bypass
  • Deep wet wells while in service
  • Splitter boxes or box culverts while in operation

If you have a problem that needs solving, chances are we’ve handled it in the past and can offer a solution. We employ a variety of different methodologies to capture debris using our versatile, one-of-a-kind Combination3® Truck and expertly trained crews. Contact us to find out what we can do for you. 

See, Clean, and Verify Tanks and Pipes In Operation

GET EYES IN TANKS & PIPES

Mapping  a structure using SediVisionTM technology.
Mapping a structure using SediVisionTM technology.

Limited visibility into tanks and pipes poses a serious operational challenge for plant operators. Because you don’t know exactly what kind of debris is building up, it’s hard to know how difficult or costly it will be to remove it. Will you have to drain down your tanks or bypass flow? And for how long? 

U.S. Submergent Technologies’ new sonar technology allows us to see the material in your tanks and pipes and develop a targeted approach to remove it, all while facilities remain in service and under flow. And once the work is complete, we’ll verify that it’s been done right, so you won’t have to wonder whether a job was performed as promised.

Get peace of mind when you have a problem to solve

U.S. Submergent Technologies has introduced SediVisionTM, a state-of-the-art sonar tool that provides customers with the assurance of restored capacity. SediVisionTM uses cutting-edge sonar-mapping technology when visibility is crucial to the job ahead, and our new, comprehensive See, Clean & Verify services allow us to see and verify the conditions of both tanks and pipes in real time while the CombinationTruck does the cleaning. All of these services can be performed while facilities remain in full operation, with no bypass or facility shut down, when conditions allow.

We have the technology to get the job planned right

Our SediVisionTM technology is a new and exclusive service offered by USST that can accurately map the distribution of grit, sand, and sludge in your tanks. We can calculate the loss of tank volume from grit accumulation with no need to shut down operations or drain a tank to determine its maintenance status.

When visibility is crucial to the job ahead, U.S. Submergent Technologies calls upon both CCTV Crawler or Combined CCTV/ Sonar Imaging capabilities as needed.

CCTV Crawler in action.
CCTV Crawler in action.

Our CCTV Crawler is a camera on wheels that crawls through a pipe when the water is low and can float down a pipe when the water is higher. Our Combined CCTV/Sonar Imaging is a crawler that floats on top of the flow in a pipe, sending back an image via camera while sonar takes imaging of what’s under the water. The images are combined to get a full view of the structure.

CCTV/Sonar inspection feed (live view).
CCTV/Sonar inspection feed (live view).

Aside from greater visibility, this technology allows us to better prepare for the project, ensuring a more tailored solution and a faster outcome. With complete information, we can recommend the best course of action for removal of any material.

We have the technology to complete the job accurately the first time

 Our See, Clean & Verify services gives us live inspection feed, even in submerged conditions, so we can view pipes and tanks during the cleaning process. Verify what, where, and how much you need to clean. When certain areas of a structure are hard to access, we can also see where the material is in real time and adjust how we clean or access it, while in operation. This means we can get all of the material out the first time, and we can be sure of it.

We have the technology to verify our work

Our See, Clean & Verify services allows us to give you physical evidence of a job done right. We provide comprehensive pre- and post-cleaning reports. Our pre-cleaning report shows what needs to be removed and allows us to develop a targeted removal plan. Our post-cleaning report shows that all of the debris was removed, giving you peace of mind that the job was performed as planned.

We deliver on our promise to the operators responsible for maintaining critical wet infrastructure. Nothing says verified better than an image. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Learn more about the structures we clean here or email us at info@ussubmergent.com.

842-Tons of Sand, Grit, Lime Material Cleaned from Two BTU Structures

PREVIOUSLY UNREMOVABLE MATERIAL REMOVED IN EAST FLORIDA


BTU Structure at East Florida plant before and after material was removed.
BTU Structure at East Florida plant before and after material was removed.

Sand, grit, lime, rags, sludge, and other wastewater residuals had accumulated over time in two large East Florida BTU structures, reducing the plant’s overall capacity. Due to the challenging nature of the material, previous companies had been unable to remove the material with conventional vacuums and equipment. The lime sludge that was found in the structures was the source of the main issue the facility was facing, and the material was described as having the consistency of “slightly dried out play-doh”.

Lime sludge material found in structure at East Florida plant.
Lime sludge material found in structure at East Florida plant.

A buildup of material in a tank such as this has the potential to cause several issues, including reduced treatment capacity and wear and tear on equipment.  A drain-down and confined space entry was necessary in order to efficiently access the material. 

Each of the facility’s above-ground BTU tanks measured at 113-feet by 130-feet, with 17-foot high walls. The Combination Truck’s powerful vacuum was used to remove sand, grit, lime, sludge, and rags without any issues.  USST’s vacuum delivers nearly double the CFM of a standard vacuum truck, allowing the crew to remove large amounts of wastewater residuals and complete the job quickly and on schedule.  In total, 842-tons were removed from the combined structures quickly and safely and disposed of offsite, minimizing odor concerns.

“Lime in particular is one of the hardest materials to remove from a structure,” reflected USST Foreman, Michael Kisling. “I’m proud of the performance of our experienced crew members and thankful we have equipment versatile enough to adapt to anything we encounter.”

Combination3® Truck at work.
Combination Truck at work.

USST’s Combination Trucks are more than just a simple vac truck.  Equipped with powerful vacuum, downhole pump, jetter, and extended-reach boom, they have the ability to clean in wet or dry conditions in up to eight different setups without bringing multiple pieces of equipment to the jobsite.

Call one of our knowledgeable project advisors for a free site assessment or to ask any questions you may have at (844) 765-7866 or email info@ussubmergent.com. Check out our video to learn more about the Combination technology.

The Science Behind the Combination3® Truck

WHAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT?

USST's Combination3® Truck
USST’s Combination Truck

In a word, Gravity!

The CombinationTruck is a unique, ambidextrous tool. It can vacuum using suction and pump using positive pressure, as well as perform jetting. Here, we’re going to examine the differences between traditional technology versus the powerful capabilities of the CombinationTruck.

Let’s take a look at how traditional vacuum technology works

Vacuum technology has been around for 50-years and is typically the first tool called upon for cleaning most pipes and tanks. A vacuum uses the flow of air to move debris into the debris box.  In a dry environment, this approach works well. Vacuum technology begins to be less effective with the presence of water. As the amount of water increases, the effectiveness of removing debris such as sand and grit becomes less effective. This is because water is lighter than the debris to be removed. As a result of this natural consequence of gravity, the debris box fills with water. Essentially, the vacuum moves the lighter material first. This is especially true for large diameter pipes. As pipe diameter increases, the flow of water also increases exponentially.

How does the CombinationTruck work differently?

The Combination Truck can overcome vacuum limitations by switching to the pumping mode coupled with a pressurized debris box. This process, known as the GritGone Process®, provides the ability to minimize or even eliminate the amount of water hauled off-site. If a tank or pipe can be cleaned while in service, the amount of water to be hauled off is minimized.

Ironically, the more water found in a structure while cleaning means less water to be hauled offsite.  “Wait! What?”, you may ask yourself. Let us explain further. If the pipe or tank is full, the Combination Truck uses water instead of air to move the debris.  In other words, vacuum uses air to move whatever is in its path and both water and debris travel into the debris box and remain when the air leaves. Conversely, when water is used to transport debris to the debris box, only the debris remains in the box since the water leaves.

Let’s not forget about the limitations of tank depth and height

In addition to the struggle with excessive amounts of water being sucked into a debris tank, another limitation imposed by gravity is pipe depth or tank height. A typical vacuum can suck, or pull up, and is effective up to one atmosphere of pressure, roughly 30-feet. When using the pumping capabilities of the CombinationTruck, the pump can ‘push’ the water and debris significantly more than 30-feet. When considering the height of a typical vacuum truck, this essentially means the limit of effective vacuum is about 20-feet below ground. Once depth becomes an issue, the force of gravity simply cannot be overcome by vacuum suction.

USST’s Combination Truck reaching over tank walls to perform cleaning while in operation.

Benefits of cleaning in a wet environment

An added benefit of cleaning while in service, or wet/submerged cleaning, is the elimination of potentially hazardous confined space entry, creating a safer work environment for crew members. If conditions allow, the CombinationTruck can clean both tanks and pipes while in service, reducing or even eliminating the need for confined space entry and avoiding potentially costly bypass.

A combination of services that can be performed in full operation

Uniting the unique cleaning capabilities of the CombinationTruck with the ability to see inside tanks and pipes is a powerful combination of services. When visibility is crucial to the job ahead, USST’s CCTV/sonar assessment and verification services allow us to see and verify the conditions of both tanks and pipes in real time while in full operation with no bypass or facility shut down. The CombinationTruck performs the cleaning portion of the job, as described above. Together, these tools allow USST to offer a unique approach to solving problems.

Learn more about USST’s new See, Clean & Verify services here.

360-Tons of Sludge Removal from Covered Digester

NITROGEN PURGE PERFORMED ON TANK TO LOWER EXPLOSION HAZARD PRIOR TO CLEANING

Paul Del Favero, longtime USST Foreman.
Paul Del Favero, longtime USST Foreman.

Sludge and other wastewater residuals had accumulated over time in a Southeast Florida digestor, reducing its treatment capacity. Measuring 65-feet in diameter with 36-feet high walls, the tank was in need of cleaning which contained levels of methane due to the treatment process.

Methane buildup in wastewater tanks occurs naturally due to the treatment process and has the potential to be hazardous. A drain down of the digestor was necessary before work could commence. To create a safer environment for crew members and reduce the risk, a nitrogen purge was performed to displace the methane found in the tank.

Because confined space entry was needed to access and remove material, USST crew took extra care to monitor air quality levels, maintain proper ventilation, and check gas meters.

“We take care to follow all safety and compliance procedures when entering a confined space,” said Charles Harrington, USST Foreman. “We got in there safely and were able to remove large amounts of material quickly.”

USST's Oba Carter, checking the roll off.
USST’s Oba Carter, checking the roll off.

The Combination Truck’s powerful vacuum was used to remove sludge and wastewater residuals without any issues.  USST’s vacuum is powered by a blower capable of delivering nearly double the CFM of a standard vacuum truck, allowing the crew to remove large amounts of material and complete the job quickly.  In total, 360-tons were removed from the structure, ready for offsite disposal.

USST’s Combination Trucks are more than just a simple vac truck.  Equipped with a powerful vacuum, downhole pump, jetter, and extended-reach boom, USST has the ability to clean in wet or dry conditions in up to eight different setups without bringing multiple pieces of equipment to the jobsite. Learn more about the structures we clean here .

Have a challenging situation that needs attention?  The Combination Truck makes restoring treatment or collection capacity easier than you think.  Call one of our knowledgeable representatives at (844) 765-7866 or email info@ussubmergent.com.

402-Tons of Sand and Grit Removed from Oxidation Ditch While In Service

NO DRAIN DOWN REQUIRED TO CLEAN OUT YEARS OF BUILT UP MATERIAL IN CENTRAL FLORIDA

USST's Combination3® Truck's extended boom and downhole pump reaching and removing material from oxidation ditch.
USST’s Combination Truck’s extended boom and downhole pump reaching and removing material from oxidation ditch.

An oxidation ditch at a Central Florida Wastewater Treatment Plant was in need of cleaning, having built up a significant amount of sand and grit.  The facility’s treatment process is comprised of a Type 1 Oxidation Ditch operating as a conventional activated sludge treatment facility measuring 320-feet by 70-feet.

USST Foreman, Michael Kisling, led the USST crew through the project from start to finish, utilizing the powerful Combination Truck and GritGone Process® to tackle the job. The truck’s extended boom and downhole pump were used to reach and remove sand and grit from the tank without having to perform a drain down.

“One of the advantages of our equipment that makes it so unique is that we can remove very large amounts of material while the whole facility remains in operation,” said Michael. “Plants don’t have to shut down or alter treatment flow, and we can reach and remove material quickly.”

Another advantage of using the Combination Truck to perform the cleaning is that confined space entry was not needed. The facility saves time and money by avoiding confined space work and crew members benefit from a lower risk jobsite.

Sand and grit removed from oxidation ditch.
Sand and grit removed from oxidation ditch.

With the GritGone Process®, the sand and grit is separated from the slurry for disposal while the water is returned to the oxidation ditch for treatment. USST can dispose of more material at a higher production rate without the added weight of water.

In total, approximately 402-tons were removed from the structure, the equivalent of 141 fully-loaded F-150 trucks!  The material was disposed of offsite, restoring much needed capacity to the facility.

USST crew performing sand and grit removal services.
USST crew performing sand and grit removal services.

Need a structure cleaned quickly or have a facility that must remain online?  USST is well-equipped to perform sand and grit removal from both wet or dry conditions and can do so at a higher production rate than most vacuum trucks.  Learn more about our tank capabilities here. Give one of our representatives a call for a free site assessment at (844) 765-7866 or email info@ussubmergent.com to learn more.

Eyes in the Pipe

WHY EVERY CITY & COUNTY UTILITY SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR COLLECTION SYSTEM
&
THE CHALLENGES OF CLEANING LARGE-DIAMETER PIPE

USST Crew cleaning large diameter pipe in Tampa, FL.

Water and wastewater collection and treatment processes are largely out of sight, out of mind. Our society often takes this infrastructure for granted and is largely unaware of what’s happening below their feet, even though every person in this country uses it every day at home or at work.

Large-diameter pipe (LDP) is generally treated the same way throughout our industry; we don’t see it regularly, so we assume it is functioning properly. LDP infrastructure is primarily only cleaned or rehabilitated when issues arise such as overflows or collapse that force attention. Once an emergency situation arises, utilities typically scramble to solve a large and complicated issue that they are usually unprepared to handle quickly themselves.

Managing Flow in Large vs Small Diameter Pipe

Large-diameter pipe is generally described as 24-inches in diameter or larger. Typically, utility systems have regular maintenance plans for smaller pipe systems 18-inches or smaller that involve a vacuum-only approach. Because of the smaller size of the pipes, cleaning this infrastructure is routine and often managed by the utilities themselves.

Flow in smaller pipes is significantly less than flow in large diameter pipes and is usually managed with vacuum technology. As an example, the capacity of a 6-inch diameter pipe compared with a 60-inch diameter pipe is 100 times greater, even though the difference in diameter is only 10 times larger. This reality is often missed because LDP comprises less than 5% of a collection system. These larger flows create challenges because of the amount of water that must be managed and possibly bypassed, when cleaning is required.

To clean large pipe systems under these conditions is challenging. Bypass is expensive and may not be a viable option. But regular maintenance of these larger systems is crucial to the health and preservation of collection infrastructure both short and long term.

One of the main roadblocks to cleaning LDP is managing flow. A simple vacuum cannot handle this type of project. A vacuum will produce little to no productivity when attempting to utilize it under heavy flow, compared to utilizing it with smaller diameter pipe under significantly less flow. The bottom line is if there is too much water, vacuum technology may not be as productive as when there is less water present.  Historically, when LDP needs to be cleaned, the pipes are either bypassed or blocked, sometimes using inflated devices, to block the water from flowing into the section of pipe being cleaned. The cleaning is then accomplished using confined space entry.

USST technology, equipment and skilled crew can clean LDP under full flow, while in service, and remove significant amounts of material at a high production rate, without the need for bypass or diverting flow. As one of the only cleaning processes in the nation that can accomplish this task, we stand ready to assist utilities to restore their collection system capacity. You can read more about USST’s large diameter pipe capabilities here.

How can you determine if your large diameter pipes need cleaning?

By getting eyes in the pipes. USST is rolling out a new technology that will allow utilities to see exactly what’s happening in the pipes, whether it be sand and grit, debris, rag material, or any other capacity-stealing issue. Using sonar technology, USST plans to see, clean, and inspect large diameter pipe while in full operation. 

Regular maintenance of a utility’s large-diameter pipe will prevent emergency situations as well as maintain the designed capacity. Let us show you how it works by signing up for our Eyes in the Pipe Webinar to learn more about the technology USST is introducing and how to get visibility into your utility’s collection system. Reserve your spot today.

Have questions? Call (844) 765-7866 or email info@ussubmergent.com.

Navigating Diffusers While Cleaning In Operation

39-TONS SAND AND GRIT REMOVAL PERFORMED ON DIGESTER

Combination3® Truck with extended boom at work removing sand and grit from Central FL facility.
Combination Truck with extended boom at work removing sand and grit from Central FL facility.

A digester at a Central Florida Wastewater Treatment Plant was due for cleaning, having built up an accumulation of sand and grit. The structure was cleaned in operation with the aid of funding from Florida’s Sand & Grit Grant Assistance Program. See if your facility is eligible for similar funding by reading more about the program here .

Measuring 100-feet in diameter with approximately 18-feet high tank walls, the digester was cleaned using the versatile Combination Truck. Due to the size of the facility, the structure had to be cleaned while remaining in full operation. No bypass or shut down was necessary to remove the material and no confined space entry was required to complete the job due to the adaptive technology of USST’s equipment and skill of the crew members.

Led by USST Foreman Charles Harrington, the crew utilized the Combination Truck’s extended boom and downhole pump to remove sand and grit while navigating around coarse air diffusers found on the bottom of the tank.

“This kind of precision cleaning is difficult to accomplish while a structure remains in operation,” said Charles. “Our technology makes it possible to clean around diffusers without doing damage at a high rate of production.”

Central FL digester.
Central FL digester.

Approximately 39-tons of sand and grit was removed from the digester and disposed of at an offsite facility. Spent biosolids lingering at the bottom of the tank were also removed, emulsified, and returned to the tank for treatment and/or processing, thereby freeing up additional capacity.

Need a structure cleaned quickly or have a facility that must remain online?  USST is well-equipped to perform sand and grit removal from both wet or dry conditions, while in operation, and can do so at a higher production rate than most vacuum trucks.  Give one of our representatives a call for a free site assessment at (844) 765-7866 or email info@ussubmergent.com to learn more.

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Florida’s Sand & Grit Grant Program

As you may or may not be aware, Florida has funding available through a grant assistance program for qualifying utilities to remove sand and grit from their facilities. We’ve got answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Sand & Grit Grant Program below.

Paint-filter dry sand removed from a structure while in operation.
Paint-filter dry sand removed from a structure while in operation.

When did the program start?

The program began in 2014 and is administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) developed to assist wastewater treatment plants in the removal of sand and grit to increase capacity, reduce energy use, and improve effluent quality.

How do I qualify?

Your facility must be a public utility with an average annual daily flow of 3MGD or under, and a portion of the plant must remain online during removal.

What is the process?

A simple, 1-page information sheet must be filled out; once it has been submitted to the FDEP, they begin to draft the grant agreement.

How much funding can I receive?

If eligible, your facility will be reimbursed 50-100%. There is no limit to the amount of funding your facility can receive through the grant program.

How many structures can I get funding for?

As many as needed that qualify. There is no limitation to the number of structures you can clean under the grant program as long as all qualifications are met.

How soon can I get reimbursed?

Typically within 30-days of invoice submittal to FDEP.

Have more questions? Reach out to one of our knowledgeable representatives to learn how this program can potentially benefit your facility by calling (941) 404-3405 or emailing info@ussubmergent.com.