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

Case Study: Port Arthur, TX – Petroleum product successfully cleaned from shipping barge

Problem

A shipping barge berthed at Port Arthur, TX, had a hardened heavy oil/asphalt petroleum product at the bottom of its three compartments of over 30,000 barrels of capacity (total). The client had been trying to remove the material for several months, without success. Because the product had been settled for some time, it had the consistency of rubber and could not be easily removed. Beginning in December of 2013, numerous unsuccessful attempts at cleaning the barge had been made, but nothing seemed to work.

Solution

In July 2014, the barge owners contacted U.S. Submergent Technologies – TX (USST) to see if they could remove the material from the barge. USST provided their new 360-HD Combination3® Truck and set up at the site. After extending their proprietary downhole pumping system to the product, the USST crew was able to recirculate and soften the material. Using their powerful Combination3® system, USST was able to remove the material and pump it into dockside vacuum boxes.

Results

Over 75,000 gallons (almost 300 tons) of petroleum product was removed and the barge’s capacity was restored. The work was accomplished in just 5 days, with almost no disruption of dock activities. The client was very pleased with the results.

View the entire case study here.

Case Study: Miami-Dade, FL – Capacity Restored to Blocked Stormwater Pipe 32-Tons of Sand Removed in Surcharged Conditions

Problem:

Miami-Dade’s Department of Transportation and Public Works needed to restore capacity to a 110-foot section of 60-inch stormwater pipe which was experiencing reduced capacity due to a buildup of sand.

Solution:

To prepare for the cleaning, an inspection was performed using USST’s pipe profiling sonar unit on their combined Sonar/CCTV truck with PACP Certified operator to give the crew visibility to conditions inside 60- inch pipe. The inspection was performed through an access point in the right of way requiring a Maintenance of Traffic permit; one lane of traffic was closed in order to access the upstream manhole.

USST’s unique Combination3® truck with extended boom, downhole pump, and jetter were utilized to travel the 110-foot length of pipe. The crew accessed the pipe from the outfall in the Miami River and cleaned towards the upstream manhole, removing sand while under surcharged conditions.

Water from inside the pipe was used during USST’s GritGone Process® and no outside water source or drain down was needed to complete the project. A post-cleaning inspection was also completed by USST to confirm all material had been removed.

Results:

32-tons of sand were removed from the pipes, restoring approximately 30% of its capacity and without having to drain it down or resort to confined space entry. The Miami-Dade project was completed quickly, safely, and on schedule.

View the entire case study here.

 Miami-Dade, FL -  Capacity Restored to Blocked Stormwater Pipe 32-Tons of Sand Removed in Surcharged Conditions

Case Study: Jasper, FL – Plant Capacity Restored While in Full Operation

Problem

A wastewater treatment facility located in the City of Jasper, FL was experiencing increased energy costs due to reduced capacity and treatment efficiency from accumulated sand and grit in their infrastructure. More than 44-tons of sand and grit was removed from the facility.

Solution

The facility sought assistance from U.S. Submergent Technologies (USST) to remove the material. USST restored the capacity of the City of Jasper’s 1.2 MGD wastewater treatment plant by safely removing 44 tons of sand and grit from nine of their structures.

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

Results

Thanks to USST’s GritGone Process℠ for debris removal, the Jasper facility was cleaned while remaining in full operation and the material was paint filter dry upon onsite disposal.

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

View the full case study here.

Case Study: Orlando, FL – 2,500 Feet of Large Diameter Pipe Cleaned

Problem

The City of Orlando, Florida s 4 -inch sanitary sewer pipe near Kirkman Road, leading to the City’s Conserv II Water Reclamation Facility had lost capacity due to an accumulation of sand, grit and material. 

Challenging access issues on the project included hard-to-reach manholes located on the opposite side of Shingle Creek.

Solution

The facility sought assistance from U.S. Submergent Technologies (USST) in early 2018 to remove the material. 

Access for equipment was challenging as the USST crew had to navigate through narrow access points to reach certain areas of the job. These difficulties could have been problematic, however, the USST crew adjusted their approach and utilized USST s Combinationtechnology to easily overcome the obstacles in order to reach the job site and get the work done efficiently and safely. 

USST’s Combinationtechnology engages jetter, vacuum and downhole pumping with 49-foot knuckleboom fully integrated on one truck chassis, creating a powerhouse of equipment in the submergent cleaning industry. No additional equipment or tools needed to be brought in, saving both time and resources for the client.

Results

Paul Del Favero and Michael Kisling of the USST crew lead the Orlando project, cleaning out grit, rags and small rocks from the 2,500-foot length of sewer pipe. The City of Orlando’s project manager, Charlie Conklin, P.E., says, “I am very happy with their performance on this project, and I’m looking forward to utilizing their services on the next phase of this project and other future projects.”

View the full case study here.

Case Study: Central Florida – Splitter Box Cleaned While In Operation 22-Cubic Yards of Sand Removed

Problem:

A splitter box at a Central Florida utility was experiencing reduced capacity due to a significant buildup of sand and grit. Wastewater treatment facilities typically employ a splitter box to separate influent flow to various structures such as aeration basins or clarifiers. This Central Florida splitter box had a visible level of sand above the water line that needed to be cleaned, and the structure measured approximately 40-feet by 25-feet. The utility was also unable to divert flow or take the structure offline, adding another level of complexity to the project.

Solution:

USST crew mobilized to the site, bringing with them a powerhouse of equipment, the Combination3® Truck, outfitted with extended boom, downhole pump, and jetter. While the splitter box was in full operation, USST utilized the GritGone Process® to remove sand and grit material.

Results:

22 total cubic yards of sand and grit was removed from the splitter box. Because the box did not have to be taken offline or drained down, risky confined space entry was not necessary. “Cleaning in submerged conditions while in operation is our specialty,” said Denver Stutler, Jr., USST CEO. “Not having to drain down structures and keep our crew out of confined space allows us to solve problems that may not have been previously solvable.”

View the entire case study here.

 Central Florida - Splitter Box Cleaned While In Operation 22-Cubic Yards of Sand Removed

 Central Florida - Splitter Box Cleaned While In Operation 22-Cubic Yards of Sand Removed

Potty Talk with Patty Potty

TEXAS’S NO WIPES IN THE PIPES CAMPAIGN

You may have heard of a spokeswoman who goes by the name of “Patty Potty,” preaching the good word of toilet etiquette in cities across the state of Texas.  Armed with a bright pink plunger and styled as a 1950s housewife, Patty Potty aims to educate the public about the dangers of putting objects into the toilet that are not one of the three Ps: pee, poo, and (toilet) paper.  She visits classrooms, industry conferences, and district board meetings.

The “No Wipes in the Pipes” campaign began in 2014 in an effort to inform the population of the dangers of flushing wipes that are falsely advertised as “flushable.”

“People are flushing all kinds of things down the toilet!” Patty points out. “It’s not a trash can, you know!  Some paper products and wipes are advertised as ‘flushable’ but they aren’t. Sure, they will flush down, but they won’t flush OUT.  Wipes don’t decompose… they get caught up in wastewater treatment plant screens and filters — and that costs money to clear and repair!”1

Those in the wastewater industry are familiar with the cleanup that is associated with products that are incorrectly flushed down the lines.  As evidenced by the large amounts of rag material USST crews have removed over the years from various pipes and structures, these materials get caught in a facility’s screens, filters, and put undue stress on infrastructure.

Rag material caught by USST Crew on a Florida jobsite.
Rag material caught by USST Crew on a Florida jobsite.

Patty Potty was created to educate people in a fun way and encourages other cities to follow suit.  She offers products that cities can use to educate their citizens including mailing inserts, flyers, bumper stickers, coloring books, magnets, and bags, just to name a few.  Her products fund the campaign, along with sponsorship packages that are available to purchase. 

You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter, and you can catch all of her videos, including a newer campaign promoting the dangers of fats, oils, and greases, on her YouTube channel.

Spread the word and take the pledge with Patty:  No wipes in the pipes!

1 https://www.pattypotty.com/about-patty-potty/

Capacity Restored to Blocked 30-Inch Gravity Sewer While in Service

7,173-FEET CLEANED, 180-TONS (EST.) OF SAND REMOVED WITH NO BYPASS

USST Crew with  Combination3® truck at work on the Tampa, Bayshore jobsite.
USST Crew with Combination truck at work on the Tampa, Bayshore jobsite.

After experiencing a series of overflows upstream, the City of Tampa was looking to clean sand and grit out of the Bayshore Gravity Sewer while in service.  Without the ability to bypass the line or divert flow, USST performed the work under submerged conditions in the 27-inch and 30-inch pipe.

Aaron Hood, one of USST’s experienced Operations Managers (read more about Aaron here!), led the USST crew on the Bayshore project, cleaning more than 7,000-feet of pipe. 

“We used our Combination truck outfitted with extended boom, downhole pump, and jetter to travel the length of the pipe and remove sand, grit, and some rag material,” said Aaron.  “The crew did a great job managing the high production rate and we performed all work while the line was in operation.”

No confined space entry was necessary due to USST’s patented equipment and process, saving the City time and money while ensuring a safe jobsite for the crew.  There was minimal intrusion into the surrounding neighborhood during the project due to the closed loop cleaning system of the Combination technology, which meant less odor and noise for nearby residences.

USST Crew on the Bayshore project.
USST Crew on the Bayshore project.

Tampa’s Bayshore project wrapped up with a PACP compliant post-cleaning inspection to confirm the removal of material with USST’s combined Sonar/CCTV truck.  The inspection gives valuable visibility into the pipes and provides the client with peace of mind that the project was successful.

Approximately 153-cubic yards of sand and grit were removed from the gravity sewer while in service, restoring an estimated 10% of capacity to the line.  The material was disposed of at an offsite city facility.

If your collection facility is experiencing overflows, you may have a sand and grit buildup issue.  USST can perform a pre-cleaning inspection to check on the condition of the line before work commences, as well as post-cleaning inspection to ensure material was removed.  If bypass is an issue, pipework can be performed in both surcharged and submergent conditions without confined space entry. 

Reach out to one of our Project Advisors to learn more about USST’s specialties in removing material from hard-to-reach environments.  Call (844) 765-7866 or email us at info@ussubmergent.com.

Sand and Grit Removal from 1,200-Feet of Pipe

CLEANING DOWNSTREAM, NAVIGATING 90-DEGREE TURN IN 30-INCH GRAVITY SEWER

USST's  Combination3® Truck at work performing sand and grit removal on Southwest FL Gravity Sewer.
USST’s Combination Truck at work on Southwest FL Gravity Sewer.

USST recently completed work on a 1,200-foot section of 30-inch gravity sewer located under a major roadway which was experiencing reduced capacity due to a buildup of sand and grit.  The facility had explored a number of options but was unable to solve the issue due to safety, time, and cost concerns.  Because the line was unable to be shutdown, USST was able to solve the problem and perform sand and grit removal while in operation, under flow.

USST Foreman Michael Kisling led the crew on the project, ensuring all material was removed, following up with a post-cleaning inspection.  The crew encountered unexpected access concerns when beginning the project.   One of the manholes planned for access during cleaning was discovered to have limitations for USST’s equipment and was unable to be used. 

“In order to overcome the restricted access, we jetted material back to an accessible manhole using the Combination Truck,” said Michael.  “It required us to clean from a downstream manhole while navigating a 90-degree turn, removing material while under flow.”

After the material was removed, an inspection was performed while the line was in full operation using USST’s pipe profiling sonar unit on their combined Sonar/CCTV truck with PACP Certified Operator.   USST’s underwater sonar imaging gave the crew visibility to conditions inside the 30-inch pipe, providing an assessment of the condition of the line, as well as confirmation of cleaning.   

“12-tons of sand and grit were removed from the pipe,” said Michael, “restoring its capacity without having to bypass flow or resort to confined space entry.” 

USST Crew and Combination3® Truck on the jobsite.
USST Crew and Combination Truck on the jobsite.

The project was completed quickly, safely, and on-schedule.  Material was disposed of at an offsite client-operated facility.

Wondering what’s in your pipe or tank?  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 tailored solution and generates a quicker outcome due to having a clear understanding of the problem to solve.

Give one of our representatives a call to schedule an inspection to get visibility to an issue your facility may be facing or to learn more about USST’s specialties in hard-to-reach environments both in surcharged or submerged conditions.  Call (844) 765-7866 or email us at info@ussubmergent.com.

Check out our video to learn more about the Combination Truck and GritGone Process®.

How U.S. Submergent Technologies Runs: An Interview with Operations Manager Aaron Hood

U.S. Submergent Technologies (USST) is well-known for taking on difficult — and often dirty — jobs, while making sure their clients’ production systems stay online. USST keeps entire wastewater systems up and running while cleaning system-clogging debris from lift stations, wet wells, tanks, and other structures. For other projects, USST restores important pipe infrastructure to its full capacity, while the system is still in operation.

We spoke with USST Operations Manager Aaron Hood to learn a little bit more about how the GritGone Process® using the Combination3® Technology removes hard-to-reach material from wet environments better than anyone else.

Aaron, how long have you been with USST?
I joined USST in 2014, and I’ve been with the company from the very beginning, helping the team learn and refine our GritGone Process® as well as operations for the Combination3® Truck. When I joined, we had one crew and we had the very first prototype truck. I came on to work as a foreman, which I was able to do once we got more equipment.

What did you do before you ran a crew for Submergent?
I grew up on a family farm in Fort Pierce, Florida — we grew and harvested oranges and grapefruit — so I knew a lot about how to run machinery, which is really the crux of this business. I also briefly worked on power lines before this.

How is USST’s operation different from others?
Well, it smells a lot different, I can tell you that! This kind of work required learning the tricks to removing debris from submerged areas. Everyone else has a vacuum and a jetter. We have those but also a downhole pump on the Combination3® Truck. I can take this truck to any job and get the job done. There’s no one else doing this in wet environments.

Sometimes I go to meetings with the sales team and explain how we can reach places that others can’t. I explain that we use our downhole pump to release water and remove the solids. Some people are hard to convince. I’ve been on jobs where people want to watch the first few boxes get emptied — it’s something that people haven’t seen before.

What do you love about your job? What is rewarding about it?
I like the challenge of doing work that hasn’t been done. I love getting something done with ease that other contractors haven’t been able to do at all.

The hardest part of a project is usually bad access. For example, some wells are in buildings underground and you have to maneuver around that, and it can be very hard to get equipment to the area that has to be cleaned. But we’ve been doing it for so long, we know how to get any job done, and it’s really rewarding to figure out a tricky setup.

What are your main priorities during a job?
My first priority is always to make sure everybody is safe. Second, I need to figure out how to set up to be most efficient and get the job done best. For trickier jobs, I like to try a couple of different things. That’s the interesting part.

What do most people not know about USST or the process? Is there anything that surprises new clients?
There are still a lot of municipalities and people that don’t understand what we do. When we show them, they’re blown away.

Another thing people don’t know is that we clean large diameter pipe, and we can clean the entire line and inspect it while it’s in operation. For cities, they’d otherwise have to bypass the line, which is very expensive and a big ordeal. There are more chances of overflow if something goes wrong with your pump. The way we do it is a lot faster and cleaner.

People are also surprised by what we pull out of tanks or lines: bike tires, PVC pipe, an old jetter nozzle from another company that tried to clean the line.

What does a day in your work life look like?
It’s an early start and a late finish and it’s busy everywhere in-between. I spend time making sure everyone gets to the site and that everyone is safe and working efficiently. I train new guys, help everyone with work, and I maintain good communication with clients. I give frequent updates on the project. The most common question I get at the end of the day is, “How much material did you get?”

Projects can last anywhere from three days to three months, but on average a project lasts about three weeks. We get material out that whole time; the goal is to move material every day.