What types of structures does U.S. Submergent Technologies clean? 

U.S. Submergent Technologies cleans sand, grit, and other debris out of wet environments. We’re well known for our success in wastewater treatment facilities, but our Combination3® technology gives us the ability to clean the hard-to-reach places in a variety of submerged conditions. 
Our innovative jetter and combined vacuum and downhole system enables the rapid removal of accumulated solids from wet infrastructure while it remains in operation. U.S. Submergent Technologies (USST) is able to restore capacity in numerous industries and other systems that can benefit from being cleaned while in service, with no bypass.  
 
Pipes

Large-diameter pipe systems can become clogged with sand or debris, causing blockage, reduced capacity, and potential upstream overflows. Over time, sand seeps into collection systems through cracks and seems, reducing overall flow once it begins to accumulate. Other unwanted debris, both naturally occurring and manmade (litter), makes its way into pipe systems, adding to the problem and obstructing flow.

If capacity isn’t restored, a blocked pipe could potentially cause flooding and water damage in the surrounding areas, as well as impacting overall flow. USST removed 32-tons of sand from a stormwater pipe in Miami-Dade county under surcharged conditions. With USST’s technology, our crews can clear blockages without the need to bypass flow and without resorting to confined space entry. 

Examples of pipe systems USST has the ability to clean appear below:

  • Baffle Box
  • Box Culverts
  • Gravity Sewer
  • Large-diameter Pipe
  • Outfalls
  • Sanitary Sewer
  • Siphon
  • Stormwater Systems

Tanks

There are many types of tank structures used in a variety of ways in wastewater treatment systems, and they can all experience reduced capacity from the gradual accumulation of sand, grit, FOGs, rag material, vegetation, and more. Buildups of these types of material leads to increased energy costs and reduces overall plant efficiency.

With the assistance of USST’s patented equipment and process, our crews can tackle the toughest of issues, often while the system or structure remains in full operation in submerged conditions. We provide facilities the option to maintain a regular maintenance schedule instead of performing costly repairs or replacing expensive infrastructure.

USST can clean the following, but not limited to, structures:

  • Aeration Basin
  • Anoxic Tank
  • Backwash Basin
  • Clarifier
  • Chlorine Contact Chamber
  • Digester
  • Effluent Channel
  • Equalization Basin
  • Grit Chamber
  • Gypsum Pond
  • Headworks
  • Influent Channel
  • Lagoon
  • Methane Tank
  • Oxidation Ditch
  • Package Plant
  • Ponds
  • Reject Pond
  • Sand Filter
  • Sediment Trap
  • Sludge Tank
  • Splitter Box
  • Storage Tank
  • Surge Chamber
  • Trickling Filter

Lift Stations

Lift or pump stations are an integral part of the wastewater collection system. They transport wastewater from lower to higher elevations and are often equipped with one to three pumps for redundancy. Lift stations tend to accumulate sand and grit due to unwanted inflow and infiltration (I&I) issues during periods of high flow (e.g., heavy rain or high tourist traffic) which can clog the system. The more sand in a wet well, the more frequently the pumps must start and stop due to reduced cycle times. A facility may only have one operating pump, putting undue stress on the already limited capacity of the structure.

Performing regular lift station maintenance reduces the risk of sanitary sewer overflow (SSO), where untreated wastewater is discharged from a sewer into the environment before reaching a wastewater treatment facility. SSO can have extremely negative consequences for the environment and population in the areas surrounding the overflowing wet well.

With USST’s Combination3® truck and patented GritGone Process®, our crews can clean lift stations with one piece of equipment and quickly switch between cleaning modes to solve most access issues. The jetter has the ability to clean the structure, and the vacuum removes material such as fats, oils and greases. The truck’s downhole pump removes sand and grit from the wet well while the lift or pump station remains in full operation at full capacity, without the need for confined space entry. 

  • Lift or Pump Stations
  • Wet Wells

Why is grit buildup a problem for wastewater treatment facilities?

Our wastewater collection and treatment systems remove the biological, waste in our water by design. However, other waste — debris such as sand and grit — accumulates in collection and treatment infrastructure, but their systems are not designed to efficiently treat or remove this type of material. This type of debris accumulates because most of the wastewater infrastructure is below the earth’s surface. Pipes and structures have joints, seams, gaps, and cracks, which are exacerbated as the ground shifts over time. These openings allow sand and grit to enter the pipe. 

The Damage Done by Grit

Sand and grit, unmanaged, can wreak havoc on the treatment process while reducing the operating capacity of the system. Sand and grit cause abnormal wear and tear on pumps and other mechanical components. Mechanically speaking, sand and grit can adversely affect operational aspects of the collection and treatment system including full or partial plugging of outlets and/or pump suctions and can increase pump and blower run times. When accumulated sand and grit cover air bubble diffusers on the bottom of aeration basins, the consequence is a drastic increase in energy required to deliver the air to the wastewater for aeration. This increases energy costs. Sand and grit can also unnecessarily increase the volume and weight of sludge, increasing the cost of handling and disposal.

The Risks of Grit and Sand Accumulation
 
Determining whether or not there is an issue is the real challenge. Pipes and tank structures are not transparent, and accumulated sand and grit sits at the bottom, reducing valuable capacity, until issues such as overflows make it clear that immediate attention is needed.

Equipment failure is a problem for wastewater facilities because it often takes a significant amount of time to repair or replace the equipment in question, resulting in the system running at reduced capacity, or having to figure out a bypass solution. In smaller facilities, there may not be an option to divert or bypass flow, leaving them in a critical situation that requires a quick resolution.

A Solution to Unwanted Grit and Sand

Often, the first solution to restoring critical capacity is to build new infrastructure. This option is costly and municipalities must spend a great deal of time to navigate a lengthy approval process, procure funding, design, and finally, constructing new infrastructure.

Instead, facilities can save money and ensure optimum capacity by scheduling regular maintenance to manage sand and grit accumulation. U.S. Submergent Technologies’ Combination3® Truck and GritGone Process® make it possible to remove grit from pipes, tanks and lift stations without shutting down the facility or bypass pumping. USST can also remove material in submerged or surcharged conditions and reduce or eliminate the need for confined space entry.

Removal of material can reduce energy demands and allow structures to return to near or full capacity. Regular maintenance to remove accumulated grit is a much less costly solution than rebuilding infrastructure or lining entire pipe systems.

Call a USST Project Advisor to learn more about how we remove material from hard-to-reach environments. Talk to us at (844) 958-1207 or email us at info@ussubmergent.com.

Tackling Tough Lime Removal in BTU Structure

HOW 60-TONS OF LIME, SAND AND GRIT WERE REMOVED IN EAST FLORIDA

Lime buildup prior to removal in outer ring of BTU.
Lime buildup prior to removal in outer ring of BTU.

A large Biological Treatment Unit (BTU) at an East Florida wastewater facility was experiencing reduced capacity and due for maintenance.  Measuring 113-feet by 130-feet and consisting of three concentric rings with a center pier effluent chamber, the cleaning of the tank was part of a plan to remove tough lime material that had accumulated over time.

Lime is typically used for precipitating impurities, adjusting pH levels, and odor control.  In the case of this BTU, the lime was not intended to be introduced into the system and was taking up valuable capacity.  The sludgy, clay-like consistence of lime material can prove challenging during removal and was an issue that had previously been unsolvable by others.

Led by Foreman Michael Kisling, USST crew arrived with the Combination Truck prepared to tackle the challenge.  In order to effectively remove large quantities of lime, sand, and grit material from the BTU, a drain down was necessary. 

USST's Combination3® Truck at work on BTU in East Florida.
USST’s Combination Truck at work on BTU in East Florida.

USST crew utilized the Combination Truck’s powerful vacuum to first clean the structure’s outer rings, moving on to the center pier effluent chamber, removing an estimated 9-feet of material.  Combination Truck’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 wastewater residuals and complete the job quickly.

“I’m proud of the performance of both our crew and equipment on this project,” said Denver Stutler, USST CEO.  “Being able to reach and remove what others can’t is our specialty, and we welcome the challenges.”

Overview of East Florida facility's BTU structure.
Overview of East Florida facility’s BTU structure.

In total, an estimated 45-tons of lime, sand and grit material were cleaned from the outer rings while 15-tons were removed from the effluent chamber and disposed of offsite.

USST can build a plan to remove material from both wet or dry conditions in a variety of hard-to-reach environments from tanks, pipes, lift stations, and more.  Give one of our project advisors a call for a free site assessment at (844) 765-7866 or email info@ussubmergent.com.

The Challenges of Cleaning Large-Diameter Pipe

GOT A BLOCKED PIPE? IS IT SUBMERGED? UNABLE TO BYPASS FLOW?

U.S. Submergent Technologies cleans sand, grit, and other debris out of wet environments in challenging conditions. We’re well known for our success in wastewater treatment facilities, but our Combination technology gives us the ability to clean collection infrastructure and large-diameter pipe that previously may not have been able to be cleaned, while systems remain in service and with no bypass.  

USST Crew performing large-diameter pipework in Tampa, Florida.
USST Crew performing pipework in Tampa, Florida.

Buildup in Pipe Systems

Large-diameter pipe systems can become clogged with sand or debris, causing blockage, reducing flow capacity, and causing potential upstream flooding. Over time, sand seeps into collection systems through cracks and seams, constricting pipe flow once it begins to accumulate. 

Other unwanted debris, both naturally occurring and manmade (litter), makes its way into pipe systems, adding to the problem and obstructing flow.  Since we are unable to see the accumulated material, the problem often goes unnoticed.  When this impacts a lift station, energy costs can rise significantly as well as wear and tear on equipment.

Restoring Capacity

If capacity isn’t restored, a blocked pipe could potentially cause flooding and water damage in the surrounding areas, as well as impeding overall flow.

USST recently removed 32-tons of sand from a stormwater pipe in Miami-Dade County under surcharged conditions, and restored capacity to more than 7,000-feet of gravity sewer by removing 180-tons of material with no bypass in Tampa, Florida.

With USST’s technology, our crews can clear blockages in submerged or surcharged conditions without the need to bypass flow and without resorting to confined space entry.  A few examples of pipe systems that USST has the ability to clean are as follows:

  • Gravity/Sanitary Sewer Collection Pipes
  • Outfall Pipes
  • Siphons
  • Stormwater Systems, including box culverts and baffle boxes

If you really want to see if you have an issue, USST can deliver live inspection feeds providing comprehensive reports and video for both pre- and post- cleaning inspections.  Performing these inspections allow USST to deliver a more tailored solution and generates a quicker outcome due to having a clear understanding of the problem to solve.

Case Study: Branford, FL – Accumulated sand and grit cleaned from aeration basin and digester while plant remains online

Problem

A facility in the Town of Branford, FL, was experiencing loss of detention volume and reduced water quality as a result of accumulated sand and grit on the bottom of their aeration basin and digester. The roughly 200,000 gallon per day facility had a large quantity of sand submerged under water. The accumulated sand and grit had reduced the efficiency of the grit chamber and was potentially exposing other elements in the treatment system to a buildup of sediments and particulates.

Solution

Using the 949 Combination3® Truck and the GritGone ProcessSM, U.S. Submergent Technologies (USST) pulled more than 35 cubic yards of accumulated material (sand and grit) from the bottom of their wastewater treatment plant without taking the system offline! By removing the sand, the Town of Branford facility realized a significant increase in capacity.

Results

The USST crew provided a sustainable solution that reduces energy costs, reuses wastewater and generates a waste product that can be economically disposed of in a landfill. The client was very pleased with the results.

View the entire case study here.

PDF – Town of Branford Testimonial Letter

Case Study: Starke, FL – Grit chamber cleaning at city wastewater treatment facility improves efficiency

Problem

A wastewater treatment facility located in the City of Starke, FL, was experiencing a loss of detention volume and reduced water quality as a result of accumulated sand and grit on the bottom of its grit chamber. The roughly 40-foot square grit chamber had an estimated four feet of sand submerged under six feet of water. The accumulated sand and grit had reduced the efficiency of the grit chamber and was potentially exposing other elements in the treatment system to a buildup of sediments and particulates.

Solution

The facility sought assistance from U.S. Submergent Technologies (USST) to remove the material. Using the 949 Combination3® Truck with its 425 hp driven components and the proprietary GritGone ProcessSM, the crew used an eight inch diameter hose to pull sand, grit and water from the chamber and through the system at a rate of 2,500 gallons per minute. Sand and grit were immediately separated from the water, and the excess water was returned to the wastewater system. The entire cleaning process was accomplished without taking the system offline! (Previously, in order to
clean the grit chamber, the system had to be shut down for an entire day. Grit was then removed using a vacuum truck and a couple of workers with
shovels.)

Results

During the cleaning operation, USST removed 90% of the sand from the grit chamber and into the debris tank in less than three hours! Water quality and system capacity were restored. The client was very pleased with the results.

View the entire case study here.

PDF – Starke Testimonial Letter

U.S. Submergent Technologies, Debris Removal in Starke, FL

Case Study: Sumter County, FL – 60-inch stormwater pipe cleaning at a private facility

Problem

A private retirement facility located in Sumter County, FL, is one of the largest (and still growing) retirement communities in the country. With close to 100,000 residents, this golf course community has an expansive network of storm water infrastructure to accommodate all the residential
growth. A 60-inch stormwater line had a large deposit of sand that had accumulated over time, blocking the flow of water inside the pipe. The blockage was 375-feet from the closest access point on the street, and the pipe was in the middle of the residential neighborhood. Further, the work needed to be performed in December, the peak month of Florida’s seasonal residents and activities.

Solution

In December 2013, the facility sought assistance from U.S. Submergent Technologies (USST) to remove the sand deposit and restore flow to the line. USST brought their Combination3® Truck to the site and was able to extend their jetter from the access point to the accumulated material 375-feet away. Using their powerful water jetting system and proprietary GritGone Process® for debris removal, the USST crew was able to jet the sand upstream in a surcharged condition to their downhole pump for removal. The water and material was then deposited into a containment tank, dewatered, and hauled away for disposal.

Results

The sand deposit was completely removed, flow to the storm water line was fully restored, and the work was accomplished in just two days. Due to the quiet operation of USST’s Combination3® Truck, the entire cleaning/removal operation had almost no impact on the neighborhood activities. The client was very pleased with the results.

View the entire case study here.

Case Study: Davie, FL – 20-Foot High Tank Cleaned While in Full Operation

Problem:

A wastewater treatment facility located in the Town of Davie, FL was experiencing increased energy costs due to reduced capacity and treatment efficiency from accumulated sand and material in their infrastructure.

Solution:

In early 2018, the facility sought assistance from U.S. Submergent Technologies (USST) to remove the material as part of the Town of Davie’s Capital Improvement Program, a facility which handles an average daily flow of around 3MGD.

Using USST’s extended boom and Combination3® technology, the material removed was immediately ready for disposal. With jetter, vacuum, downhole pump and 49-foot knuckleboom fully integrated on one chassis, USST’s Combination3® technology delivers a powerful punch in the submergent cleaning industry. No additional equipment or tools were needed to be brought in, saving time and resources for the client.

Results:

USST removed more than 180-CY of sand and material from Davie’s 20-foot high surge tank while it remained in full operation. Paul Del Favero, USST’s Field Supervisor, lead the USST crew in completing the Davie project efficiently and on schedule.

John McGeary has resided as Chief Operator of the Town of Davie’s WWTP for almost five years, and has 38 years’ experience in the wastewater industry. He says “[I was] pleased with the professionalism and the efficiency of the operation. We also liked the initial dryness of debris removed during the process.”

View the entire case study here.

Davie, FL - 20-Foot High Tank Cleaned While in Full Operation
Davie, FL - 20-Foot High Tank Cleaned While in Full Operation

Case Study: Tampa, FL – Taking a 115 Degree Turn Under a River: 70-CY Removed from 660-Feet of Pipe

Problem:

A 300-foot section of interceptor sewer pipe running alongside the Hillsborough River in the City of Tampa was experiencing reduced capacity due to a buildup of sand and grit. Access to the interceptor pipe was an issue due to the hard 115 degree turn of the connecting siphon.

Solution:

In mid-2018, the City of Tampa sought assistance from U.S. Submergent Technologies (USST) to remove the material. USST setup downstream on the southeast bank of the Hillsborough River. In order to access the 300-foot 48-inch diameter interceptor sewer pipe, the USST crew had to maneuver through a 360-foot 36-inch diameter siphon and parallel 20- inch diameter siphon under the river, with a 115-degree change in direction.

USST’s unique Combination3® truck with extended boom, dripless tube system, and jetter were utilized to travel the 360-foot length of siphon, navigate the 115-degree turn, and remove material from 300-feet of interceptor sewer pipe.

Results:

Almost 70-cubic yards of sand and grit was removed from the pipes, restoring more than 26% of its capacity, all while remaining in full operation.

“The exceptional ability of our equipment to make a 115-degree turn in submerged conditions and remove a significant amount of material while remaining operational is what separates us from others in the market,” said Denver Stutler, Jr., co-founder and CEO of USST. “I’m proud of our team and their effort to restore capacity, as well as our working relationship with the City of Tampa.”

View the entire case study here.

Tampa, FL -  Taking a 115 Degree Turn Under a River: 70-CY Removed from 660-Feet of Pipe
Tampa, FL -  Taking a 115 Degree Turn Under a River: 70-CY Removed from 660-Feet of Pipe

Case Study: Tallahassee, FL – One Truck, One Tool 23-Foot Deep Lift Station Cleaned While in Operation

Problem:

Tallahassee’s Summerbrooke 23-foot deep lift station was due for scheduled maintenance, needing both FOGs on the surface and sand and grit on the bottom removed.

Solution:

USST’s patented Combination3® truck with extended boom, downhole pump, and jetter mobilized to the site, and allowed crew to remove debris from both the surface of the water and bottom of the structure without additional equipment or repositioning. USST utilizes downhole pumping (in submerged or normal flow) or vacuum (in dry or low flow) as required and is equipped to switch between the two methods in any circumstance, with minimal downtime.

The USST crew first removed the FOG layer off the top of Tallahassee’s Summerbrooke lift station with vacuum and utilized the downhole pump to remove all residual material off the bottom of the lift station while it remained in full operation.

Results:

USST’s Combination3® extended reach boom provided the reach required during the job, preventing hazardous work conditions. Almost 8-cubic yards was removed from the 23-foot deep wet well, and the job was completed safely, efficiently, and ahead of schedule.

“Our truck is uniquely equipped to solve lift station challenges,” said Denver Stutler, Jr., co-founder and CEO of USST. “Oftentimes, you don’t know what to expect, and our equipment has the ability to perform like a Swiss Army Knife in the field.”

View the entire case study here.

Tallahassee, FL -  One Truck, One Tool 23-Foot Deep Lift Station Cleaned While in Operation