USST at FWRC, Tampa, FL

5 USST team members in company booth at the Florida Water Resources Conference in Tampa, Florida.
TEAM USST AT THE 2019 FLORIDA WATER RESOURCES CONFERENCE IN TAMPA, FL

Last week, USST exhibited for the 6th year in a row at this year’s 2019 Florida Water Resources Conference.  Our team had the opportunity to meet and greet with customers from both public and private facilities and we enjoyed speaking with everyone who stopped by the booth.

The highlight of the conference is the Florida Regional Ops Challenge, where six teams compete for two spots to showcase their talents in the national challenge this September in Chicago at WEFTEC.   You can read about how each team performed and who is advancing to Nationals in our blog post here.

If you missed us at FWRC, you can catch us at the next event.  Keep an eye on our Conferences page which we’ll update as new events are scheduled, or simply give us a call to make an appointment at any time at (844) 765-7688.

1,575-Tons Removed from Oxidation Ditch

SPEEDY SAND & GRIT REMOVAL PERFORMED IN DAYTONA, FLORIDA

Aerial view of oxidation ditch before cleaning.  A concrete structure filled with green vegetation and sludge.
AERIAL VIEW OF OXIDATION DITCH BEFORE CLEANING

An oxidation ditch at the Westside Regional Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) in Daytona Beach, Florida was due for cleaning as part of a larger rehabilitation plan, having built up a significant amount of sand, grit, and vegetation.  Measuring approximately 550-feet long by 120-feet wide with walls 20-feet in height, USST mobilized to the site prepared to perform sand and grit removal services.  The crew completed the job in record time, well-ahead of schedule, motivated, perhaps, by being in the speed capital of the state.

“U.S. Submergent [Technologies] completed their work ahead of schedule and with no disruption to the existing plant operations or other construction activities onsite.”

– Joe DeHart, Project Manager, PC Construction

Paul Del Favero, one of USST’s seasoned Field Supervisors, arrived with a team ready to remove the large quantities of sand, grit, and vegetation material from the oxidation ditch.  A drain down was necessary to effectively reach the material, and all work was performed via confined space entry by the USST crew.  

“We follow all safety precautions when performing confined space entry work,” said Paul.  “It’s important to get it right the first time.”  With 80(+) hours of safety compliance and on-the-job training completed by each team member, the USST crew has daily meetings to review the day’s upcoming work and to ensure all required PPE and safety equipment are in use.

USST’s Combination truck was utilized on the jobsite and employs a vacuum powered by a blower capable of delivering nearly double the CFM of a standard vacuum truck.  This allows the crew to remove large amounts of dry material and complete the job quickly. 

“It’s not your average vac truck,” said Denver Stutler, Jr., USST’s CEO. “Like a well-precisioned pit crew, the capabilities of our Combination truck and the intense training our guys complete enable our team to run at a high production rate.”

Approximately 1,575 total tons of material were removed from the oxidation ditch well ahead of the projected schedule, restoring capacity to the structure. 

“I’m very proud of the accomplishments of the entire crew and their performance in Daytona,” said Paul Del Favero.  “Everyone pitched in, worked safely, and got the job done in record time for the client.”

USST partnered with the PC Construction Company on the Daytona project.  Joe DeHart, Project Manager for PC Construction, has been in the industry for 18 years and with PC Construction for three.

“U.S. Submergent [Technologies] exceeded our expectations with their work on this project,” said Joe.  “They worked very quickly to complete the work, but more importantly, they worked safely.  U.S. Submergent [Technologies] completed their work ahead of schedule and with no disruption to the existing plant operations or other construction activities onsite.”  

AERIAL VIEW OF OXIDATION DITCH AFTER CLEANING

Need a structure cleaned quickly or have a facility that must remain online?  The many capabilities of the USST crew and equipment are well-equipped to remove sand, grit and other material from both wet or dry conditions, while in operation, and can do so at a higher production rate than most vac 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.

90-Tons Removed from Aeration Basin

RAG & GRIT REMOVAL IN SOUTHEAST, FL

An aeration basin at a Southeast Florida Water Reclamation Facility was experiencing reduced capacity and due for maintenance.  Measuring 206-feet in length and divided into eight 24-foot by 24-foot cells, the cleaning of the tank was part of a rehabilitation plan to repair and replace key components of the structure.

AERATION BASIN FILLED WITH MATERIAL PRIOR
TO CLEANING.

U.S. Submergent Technologies’ (USST) Field Supervisor, Paul Del Favero, arrived with a team to the site prepared to perform rag and grit removal services.  In order to effectively remove the large quantities of sand, grit and rag material from the aeration basin, a drain down was necessary.  Once the tank was drained, the USST crew came in and vacuumed up the material and performed manual rag removal from the fine bubble diffusers.

“Our Combination truck sports a vacuum powered by a blower capable of delivering nearly double the CFM of a standard vacuum truck,” Denver Stutler, USST’s CEO, said, “allowing us to remove large amounts of dry material and complete the job quickly.  It’s not your typical vac truck.”

Square cement tank with most of the murky green liquid and materiel removed. Partial material remaining on bottom in and in-between fine bubble diffusers.
MIDWAY THROUGH CLEANING AERATION BASIN.

Applying their confined space entry training and expertise, the USST crew removed more than 90-tons of total material from the aeration basin and disposed of the material offsite.  Workers were then able to access, repair, and replace components on the bottom of the cleaned structure.

“I knew our reliable equipment and exceptional crew would be able to get the job done quickly and on schedule,” said Paul. 

Square cement tank empty of all material, with fine bubble diffusers visible on the bottom.
AERATION BASIN COMPLETELY CLEANED, ALL MATERIAL REMOVED.

Specializing in hard-to-reach environments in wet or dry conditions, USST can build a plan to safely and efficiently remove material from tanks, pipes, lift stations, and more.  Check out our video to learn more about the Combination technology and the GritGone Process® and give one of our representatives a call for a free site assessment at (844) 765-7866.

Not Just a Vac Truck: A Multifaceted Approach to Cleaning with One Piece of Equipment

107-TONS GRIT REMOVAL IN BAREFOOT BAY

Barefoot Bay Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility (AWWTF) was experiencing reduced plant capacity and due for maintenance on multiple structures as part of its rehabilitation plan for the facility.  Sand, grit, rags, and sludge had accumulated in the 0.9 MGD facility’s equalization tank as well as a 93-feet diameter multi-service tank.

Large white truck with extended boom arm performing grit removal in nearby tank next to large blue roll off truck.
USST’s Combination3® truck and crew performing grit removal with roll off truck at Barefoot Bay AWWTF

Having different types of structures onsite often require different methods of cleaning to get the job done. U.S. Submergent Technologies’ (USST) Combination truck is more than just a vac truck.  Sporting a vacuum, downhole pump, jetter and extendable boom on one chassis, USST’s Combination trucks have the ability to clean in wet or dry conditions using multiple setups.

Getting the Job Done in Barefoot Bay

Paul Del Favero, one of USST’s veteran Field Supervisors, arrived with a team to the Barefoot Bay site prepared to remove material from the two structures using two separate methods of removal with one, unique piece of equipment.  The crew used the Combination truck’s extended boom and downhole pump to safely and efficiently remove 16-tons of sand and grit from the facility’s multi-service tank which remained in full operation throughout the project. 

Due to the extended reach capabilities of the Combination truck, confined space entry was not needed to clean the multi-service tank. THis made it safer for the onsite crew and limited costs for the client.  The truck’s vacuum capabilities were then utilized to remove nearly 91-tons of material from the facility’s equalization tank. 

“Using our Combination truck and GritGone Process®, we were able to remove sand and grit from the multi-service tank while the plant remained in full operation, then switch to vacuum to clean the equalizer tank, for a total of 106-tons removed,” said Paul.  “The versatility of our equipment provides us with valuable options and our exceptional crew got the job done quickly and safely.”

“When our technology helps facilities extend the life of their infrastructure safely and more efficiently, everyone wins,” said USST’s CEO, Denver Stutler, Jr.

Specializing in grit removal and restoring capacity to hard-to-reach environments in submerged conditions, USST can build a plan to safely and efficiently remove material from tanks, pipes, lift stations, and more.  Check out our video to learn more about the Combination technology and the GritGone Process®, and give one of our representatives a call for a free site assessment at (844) 765-7866.

The Government Shutdown & the Effect It Has Had on Our Environment

OUR NATION’S WATER, LAND, AND WILDLIFE AT RISK

By now, you have most likely heard about the temporary reopening of the government after a monthlong shutdown, the longest in US history.  In case you need a refresher on what has happened beginning December 22, 2018, the Washington Post1 has a great article summarizing everything you need to know.  But just how has the government shutdown impacted our environment so far, and what happens when the short-term deal ends on February 15th?

Front shot of the US Capitol building on a clear, cloudless day, home of United States Congress.
U.S. Capitol Building, Home of United States Congress

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a group dedicated to protecting America’s land, air, and water, is one of the major environmental agencies whose employees had been furloughed since late December.  According to the New York Times2 , inspections that EPA workers would normally have performed had been halted, including the inspections of wastewater treatment plants, chemical factories, power plants, oil refineries, and other industrial-type sites.  These inspections are meant to monitor pollution and ensure compliance.

“There are plants that discharge wastewater into streams and rivers, places that store hazardous chemicals in containers that could leak – we show up and test these places to see if they’re meeting pollution laws,” said Garth Connor, a furloughed EPA inspector in Philadelphia […].  “[There has been] nobody out there to check if they’re complying.”2

Now that the shutdown has been temporarily suspended, EPA employees may return to their jobs, but a backlog of inspections and work needing to be rescheduled most likely awaits them.  Eric Schaeffer, former EPA enforcer, reflects on the effects the shutdown from December 16, 1995 to January 6, 1996 had.

“That was one of the worst years ever at the EPA in terms of numbers and of inspections and enforcement,” Schaeffer said.  “Everything was ground to a halt, bogged down.  You can’t just restart at 100 miles per hour.  You have to reschedule everything.” 2

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is another environmental agency whose employees were furloughed, shutting down essential functions of the organization.  Newsweek3 recently reported that portions of their website were removed and not maintained.  During the shutdown, NOAA’s ability to perform primary functions such as ocean research and conservation, weather and climate observation, natural hazards alerts, water quality monitoring, species tracking, and more were affected.  It is unclear which NOAA functions will resume during the short-term reopening of the government.

Hurricane research4 is another important function of NOAA that has been on hold since late December.  Due to gaps in data tracking as a result of the shutdown, accurate forecasting models for the upcoming hurricane may be impacted.

White sign on black fence posted on front of government property reading "Because of the federal government shutdown, all national parks are closed."

Visited a national park in the last month?  You may have found that admission was free, but amenities such as campgrounds, restrooms and guard stations were closed.  Parks, historical sites, monuments, and battlefields were essentially wide open with no one left to maintain the lands, reported the Washington Post5.  The National Park Service issued a warning to use caution when entering a park or monument property.  With no one to staff and patrol these areas, visitors flocked to unattended parks leaving trash, walking off-trail, and causing potentially lasting damage to protected land and wildlife areas. 

Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent David Smith [said] that visitors [were] illegally off-roading, cutting down trees and spray-painting rocks, among other infractions. 
“Joshua trees were actually cut down to make new roads,” Smith said.5

While park employees were furloughed, volunteers stepped up across the country and donated their time to pick up trash, cleaned restrooms, donated supplies, and helped maintain the areas. 

“People are doing it because we love this place and we know how trashed it will get if we don’t,” said a volunteer helping at Joshua Tree National Park.6

Once the parks reopen, park employees will be responsible for cleaning up and repairing what remains of the mess left by visitors.

With the short-term reopening now in effect, government workers can look forward to a long-awaited paycheck that includes backpay during the shutdown.  The reopening is only scheduled to last until February 15th, 2019.  At that time, Congress will need to approve additional funds or another governement shutdown will ensue.  If another shutdown were to occur so soon, there’s no telling how much more lasting damage will affect our land, water, and wildlife.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/politics/government-shutdown-faq/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ed03081b0166

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/09/climate/epa-pollution-inspection-shutdown.html

https://www.newsweek.com/noaa-climate-data-taken-offline-during-shutdown-1302273

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/09012019/government-shutdown-climate-data-loss-scientific-research-delays-hurricane-forecasting-wildfires-algae-noaa-nasa

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/01/11/travesty-this-nation-people-are-destroying-joshua-trees-joshua-tree-national-park/?utm_term=.7943fc47ea54

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/in-shutdown-national-parks-transformed-into-wild-west–heavily-populated-and-barely-supervised/2019/01/01/db51564e-0d3b-11e9-84fc-d58c33d6c8c7_story.html?utm_term=.6ef102eaee69

In the USST Spotlight: Michelle Roberts

Say hello to Michelle Roberts, our dedicated Client Liaison in North Florida.   Michelle is an expert when it comes to guiding our clients though the sometimes-challenging procurement process as well as assisting local utilities navigate communications with Florida government.

Having joined the USST team almost a year ago, we have come to know Michelle for her love of genealogy and enthusiasm to always take on a challenge.  She is a rare, native Floridian and parent to two cats, Lewis and Princess (who she says definitely lives up to her name).  Read on to learn some other surprising details about our team member.

Hometown:  Wakulla County.  I was ready to see the world as soon as I turned 18.  I appreciate growing up in Wakulla and having a small-town upbringing, but I prefer the city because I like the hustle and bustle that comes along with it.

Favorite Aspect of the Job:  I came from the world of petroleum and now I’m learning the world of wastewater.  This means that I am continuously learning a lot of things, and it’s very challenging, which I enjoy.

My Friends Would Describe Me As:  Funny, loyal, and trustworthy.

Lessons/Words From _____ That I Live By:  I decided 10-15 years ago that I’ve got 24-hours every day to get it right.  The “it” is broad because there’s your job, family, and friends to consider, and 24-hours in which to be a decent human being, and I try to succeed every day.

Favorite Movie/TV Show to Watch:  The Goonies.  It was the first movie I ever got to see on a VCR (which was a big deal back in the day).  It’s the adventure every kid wanted to have.

My Autobiography Would Be Called:  “Why are we still talking about this? I have to go snuggle my cats.”

First Job:  I started babysitting at 11-years old, but my first “real” job was as a Subway sandwich artist at 18-years old.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?  I don’t do karaoke.  Ever.

Hobbies:  I am very much into researching my genealogy and family history.  I also like to draw with oil pastels, although I’m super terrible at it, but I enjoy it very much because it’s messy.

#1 Place I’d Like to Visit:  Egypt.  I have always been fascinated with everything Egyptian.

What is your favorite pizza topping?  Olives, both green and black.  There can never be enough olives on a pizza.

If you could eliminate one food so that no one would eat it ever again, what would you pick to destroy?  Peas in a can.  They are disgusting.

One Surprising Thing About Me:  I have never been able to whistle.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time and why?  I would spend all of my time working on my family genealogy.  It’s fascinating and amazing how lost you can get working on it, and then you realize it’s been 12-hours since you last ate.

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what activity would you have a good chance at winning a medal for?  Organizing.

One Song That Would Play Every Time I Entered a Room:  Goldfinger by Shirley Bassey.  I used to drive my mother crazy singing this song over and over because I knew she really hated it.

One Word That Describes My Dancing Ability:  Enthusiastic

What would be your first question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100-years?  Where can I get some mac ‘n cheese?

Favorite Snack:    Olives.

The Zombie Apocalypse is coming, who are 3 people you want on your team, real or fictional?  Wonder Woman, David (a friend of mine), and my sister, Erin.

3 Oxidation Ditches, 2 Wet Wells… and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Multiple Structures in Full Operation While 194-CY Removed

Five structures at a Northeast Florida Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) were experiencing reduced capacity due to a buildup of sand and grit.  The WWTF, which manages an average daily flow of nearly 5 MGD, had three oxidation ditches and two wet wells in need of maintenance.

Combination3® truck at work in Northeast Florida

Measuring 50-feet wide by 230-feet in length, the three oxidation ditches accumulated a significant amount of sand and grit material.  Aaron Hood, Field Supervisor at U.S. Submergent Technologies® (USST) mobilized the USST crew to the facility and was able to successfully clean all three structures while in full operation and without having to resort to confined space entry.

“Cleaning in submerged conditions is USST’s specialty,” said Aaron.  “Our Combination truck outfitted with extended boom, downhole pump, and jetter allows us to be extremely efficient in removing material without having to drain down the tank or require confined space entry.”

Not having to drain down a tank can save a client valuable time and resources in order to remove material.  USST’s equipment performs best in submerged and surcharged conditions, and tank height is almost never an issue for the Combination truck.

Field Supervisor, Aaron Hood with removed material

Two wet wells were also in need of sand and grit removal, and the USST crew accessed the material without issue and while in full operation.  USST’s unique, GritGone Process® generated approximately 194-cubic yards of sand and grit material removed from the five structures and the paint-filter dry material was deposited onsite.

Have a tank that needs attention?  Call one of our knowledgeable representatives for a free quote or to ask any questions by calling (844) 765-7866 or email info@ussubmergent.com.

885-Tons Cleared Out from Storage Tank

That’s 118,000 Thanksgiving Turkeys!

A water reclamation facility in Central Florida was experiencing reduced capacity due to a buildup of sand, grit and rag material in their methane storage tank.  Due to the challenging nature of the 100-foot diameter, 24-foot domed structure, the facility’s tank, which had been converted to an overflow tank, hadn’t been cleaned in several years, resulting in the accumulation of a significant amount of material.

Material Accumulation in Methane Tank Pre-Cleaning

With the help of USST’s Combination truck, the USST crew removed an astonishing 885-tons, which accounted for a total of 18-feet of material, from the tank in a two-part plan of attack, led by USST’s experienced Field Supervisors, Paul Del Favero and Aaron Hood.

“The first part of the plan involved using our downhole pump to remove water and sludge by accessing the material from the roof of the tank,” explained Paul. “We were able to remove the sand and grit and decant an acceptable level of sludge and water back to the plant for treatment using our GritGone Process®, avoiding confined space entry for a majority of the project.”

Part-two of the plan involved accessing the remaining sand, grit, sludge, and rag material from an entry point located on the side of the tank.  The USST crew utilized the Combination truck’s high-pressured vacuum via confined space entry to safely and successfully remove the last of the material, and the facility has since gained back full capacity.

Methane Tank Post-Cleaning, Full Capacity Restored

“We follow all safety and compliance procedures when entering a confined space, taking extra care to monitor air quality levels, maintain proper ventilation, check gas meters and have SCBA’s (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) on hand at all times,” said Aaron.  “Our goal is to eliminate the need for confined space entry as much as possible, and our equipment allows us to do just that.”

USST’s ability to use a multifaceted approach to the project with one piece of equipment is unparalleled in the marketplace.  We can reach areas in tanks that other can’t, and we specialize in removing material from challenging environments.  If you think you have a structure that is inaccessible, we’d like the opportunity to assess your facility’s situation and provide a solution.  Call (844) 765-7866 or email info@ussubmergent.com to get started.

Cleaning For A Reason

You can’t miss the USST crew out in the field this October; we’ll be sporting bright pink shirts to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  This year, USST will be donating a percentage of all purchase orders during the month of October to support Breast Cancer Awareness and Research.

USST Crew Hard at Work

Donation will be made to the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Miami, FL and founded in 1993, dedicated to ending breast cancer through advocacy, education and research.  Give us a call to learn more find out how you can help us make a difference: (844)-765-7866.

USST Team Proudly Wearing Pink This October

8 Lift Stations in 6 Days

CLEANING UP AFTER HURRICANE IRMA IN NORTH FLORIDA

More than a year after Hurricane Irma came ashore, a city in northern Florida was still experiencing aftereffects of the storm throughout several of their facilities.  A buildup of sand and grit in multiple lift stations was causing reduced efficiency throughout their collection system and needed to be removed in order to restore capacity.

USST Crew with Combination3® truck at work on lift stations.
USST Crew with Combination3® truck at work on lift stations.

Paul Del Favero, Field Supervisor for U.S. Submergent Technologies® (USST), mobilized the USST crew to begin work on cleaning eight lift stations throughout several of facilities.  The wells were approximately 20-feet deep and were cleaned using USST’s Combination truck.

“We successfully removed material from eight lift stations in just six days,” said Paul.  “Each wet well had a buildup of sand and grit, and we removed rags as well.  Our equipment allows us to be extremely efficient in removing material without having to bypass pump, and crew members were able to avoid confined space entry.”

Wet well cleaning in process.
Wet well cleaning in process.

In addition to valuable capacity being restored, the sand and grit removed was paint-filter dry and was disposed of offsite using USST’s GritGone Process®.  All facilities remained online throughout the cleaning process, saving both time and energy for the client.

Whether you are experiencing reduced pumping capacity or extended pump run times in your collection system due to a buildup of material, storm aftereffects, or I&I, our knowledgeable team can assist in putting together a specialized plan for your facility to safely restore valuable capacity.  The premier restoration services of USST can help utilities extend the life of treatment and collection infrastructure, saving time, energy, and money.

Give us a call at (844) 765-7866 or request a free, customized quote here.