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.

Supporting Veterans by Playing Golf

TEAM TAKES 1ST & 2ND PLACE AT THE FIRST ANNUAL WARRIORS AT EASE GOLF TOURNAMENT

Taking 1st place at the Warriors at Ease Golf Tournament.  From left to right: Thomas Marcase (Veteran), Harry Fritz, Daniel Forehand,  Randy Cordrey (USST), with Christie Hickey.
Taking 1st place at the Warriors at Ease Golf Tournament. From left to right: Thomas Marcase (Veteran), Harry Fritz, Daniel Forehand, Randy Cordrey (USST), with Christie Hickey.

If you haven’t heard of the Warriors at Ease organization and the amazing support they provide to U.S. veterans, current service members, and families, please read on. Their vision is to “integrate yoga and meditation into military and civilian settings to support the health, resiliency, post-traumatic growth, and connection of service members, veterans and their families.

In addition to providing yoga and meditation classes on military installations, in VA facilities, and in the community, Warriors at Ease also organizes retreats and programs, provides training and certifications for teachers, and more.

This year, Warriors at Ease hosted their first charity golf tournament with military service members and veterans in attendance. USST and friends had the pleasure of being able to support and participate in the event that was held on Friday, November 15 at the Biltmore Golf Course in Miami. Our teams played well and had the honor of earning 1st and 2nd place. It was a fun day on the course, and we look forward to being a part of next year’s event!

On the course at the Warriors at Ease Golf Tournament.  From left to right:  Harry Fritz, Daniel Forehand, Mike Balen, Luis Montoya, Ian Yee (Veteran), Thomas Marcase (Veteran).
On the course at the Warriors at Ease Golf Tournament. From left to right: Harry Fritz, Daniel Forehand, Mike Balen, Luis Montoya, Ian Yee (Veteran), Thomas Marcase (Veteran).

And to all those who have served, and those who continue to serve, we thank you!

###

Warriors at Ease (WAE); established as a 501(c)(3) organization in 2011. The pioneering co-founders were involved in some of the first clinical studies funded by the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) involving the use of yoga and meditation as an adjunct therapy for combat-related health conditions. The Warriors at Ease curriculum was created to train professionals in evidence-based techniques to support the health, resilience, and healing of our nation’s troops.

There are many organizations providing free yoga & mediation services to the military population. Warriors at Ease is focused on training those teachers on the unique aspects of military culture and on accessible and evidence-based techniques proved to support reintegration after combat.

Visit http://warriorsatease.org/ to learn more.

340-Tons of Sand and Grit Removed Using Multiple Cleaning Methods

30-YEARS OF MATERIAL REMOVED FROM BOTH WET & DRY CONDITIONS IN QUINCY

Combination3® Truck with 49-foot extended boom removed sand and grit from Quincy's Nitro Tank while in operation.
Combination Truck with 49-foot extended boom removed sand and grit from Quincy’s Nitro Tank while in operation.

Four structures at the City of Quincy’s Wastewater Treatment Plant were overdue for cleaning, due to a significant amount of sand and grit accumulation over the last 30-years.  With multiple setups needed to complete the project, the USST crew mobilized to the site armed with the versatile Combination Truck and removed the built-up sand and grit.

A 55-foot diameter digester and a 75-foot diameter nitro tank were the first two structures the crew tackled.  While the structures were in full operation, USST utilized the Combination Truck’s downhole pump combined with the GritGone Process® and removed sand and grit material.  The truck’s 49-foot extendable boom was utilized to reach over the 15-foot and 12-foot high walls of each structure, respectively.  Because the tanks did not have to be taken offline or drained down in either case, confined space entry was not required. 

Extended 49-foot knuckle boom with dripless tubes at work on Nitro Tank in Quincy.
Extended 49-foot knuckle boom with dripless tubes at work on Nitro Tank in Quincy.

Next, the USST crew turned to the third and fourth structures needing to be cleaned: two combined fermentation and anoxic tanks, both measuring approximately 24-feet wide by 80-feet in length.  These tanks needed to be taken offline due to capacity issues, and a drain down was necessary to effectively reach the material.  The work was performed via confined space entry by the USST crew utilizing the Combination Truck’s powerful vacuum technology.  Check out the project recently completed in Delray Beach to learn more about our vacuum capabilities. 

“Having the ability to clean both wet or dry conditions on a jobsite gives us an advantage in the field,” said USST Operations Manager, Paul Del Favero.  “We don’t have to bring multiple pieces of equipment to the site and we can accommodate clients who are unable to take structures offline.”

In total, approximately 340-tons of sand and grit were removed from Quincy’s four structures and disposed of onsite.  The project was completed ahead of schedule, restoring valuable capacity to the treatment plant.

“U.S. Submergent did a very professional job with little or no issues with the operation of the plant,” said Mo Cox, Assistant Director of Utilities for Quincy.

Combination3® Truck at work on Quincy's Digester while in service.
Combination Truck at work on Quincy’s Digester while in service.

The city was also able to take advantage of Florida’s Sand and Grit Grant Program, which makes it possible for communities to address the ongoing issues of sand and grit accumulation in wastewater treatment facilities by reimbursing 50-100% of restoration costs.  If you are a publicly-owned, Florida municipality with an average daily flow of 3MGD or less, you may be eligible for state grant assistance.  Contact our Program Administrator, Michelle Roberts, at mroberts@ussubmergent.com to get details about the State of Florida’s Sand and Grit Grant Program.

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 environments, while in operation, and can do so in both submerged and surcharged conditions.  Give one of our representatives a call for a free site assessment at (844) 765-7866 or email info@ussubmergent.com to learn more.

Aeration Basin Cleaned of 724-Tons of Rags, Sand and Grit

YEARS OF BUILT-UP RAG MATERIAL REMOVED IN DELRAY BEACH

Delray Beach aeration basin BEFORE removal of rag, sand and grit material.
Delray Beach aeration basin BEFORE removal of material.

An aeration basin at the Delray Beach South Central Regional Reclamation Facility was overdue for cleaning, having built up a significant amount of sand, grit, and rag material that needed to be removed.  The USST crew mobilized to the site armed with the versatile Combination Truck, well-prepared to handle the project.

Made up of three 60-foot by 60-foot bays, the aeration basin was drained down when the crew arrived.  To aid the cleaning and rehabilitation of the tank, diffusers were removed from the bottom of the bays and USST crew utilized a skid steer to assist in the removal of the high-density material from the structure. 

Delray Beach aeration basin AFTER removal of rag, sand and grit material.
Delray Beach aeration basin AFTER removal of material.

The Combination Truck’s powerful vacuum was used to remove sand, grit, rags, and sludge, and has the ability to get over high walls without losing power.  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 wastewater residuals and complete the job quickly. 

“Our years of experience provides us with the ability to adapt to unknown conditions and be prepared for obstacles we may face on the jobsite,” said Paul Del Favero, one of USST’s Operations Managers. 

In total, approximately 724-tons of rags and debris were removed from Delray’s structure and disposed of offsite, restoring valuable capacity to the treatment plant.

USST fleet at Delray Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant.
USST fleet at Delray Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant.

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.  Give one of our representatives a call for a free site assessment at (844) 765-7866 or reach out to us here to learn more.

Cleaning (and Swinging) for a Reason

USST Supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
USST equipment operator wearing pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
USST equipment operator wearing pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

You may have spotted the USST crew in pink shirts this month. For the 2nd year in a row, USST will be donating a percentage of all purchase orders during the month of October to support Breast Cancer Awareness and Research.

From left, USST's Paul Meding, Paul Del Favero, and Michael Brantley Swinging for a Cause.
From left, USST’s Paul Meding, Paul Del Favero, and Michael Brantley Swinging for a Cause.

USST also had the pleasure of sponsoring and participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Golf Tournament in Miami, Florida. The organization raises money to help the American Cancer Society fund groundbreaking breast cancer research and provide patient services like free rides to chemo, free places to stay near treatment, and a live 24/7 cancer helpline.

Give us a call to learn how you can help us make a difference at (844)-765-7866 or by reaching out to us here.

Event trophies at Miami-Dade's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Golf Tournament.
Event trophies at Miami-Dade’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Golf Tournament.