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

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.