You May Have a Sand Problem and Not Even Realize It

Identifying and Managing Annual I&I Issues

 

Where does the sand in wastewater treatment plants come from?  The answer is the collection system.  Determining whether or not there is an issue can be the real challenge.  Spring is just around the corner, and with it, the time of year when most of the country’s rainfall usually occurs.  Throughout the wet season, an increase in flow into a WWTP can be due to inflow and not an increase in domestic wastewater collected, and potentially a reliable indicator that treatment capacity has been compromised and may need to be restored.

Over time, sand seeps into pipes and lift stations and is eventually transported to WWTP infrastructure.  Sand, unlike other debris such as rag material, FOGs, and grit, is an unintended consequence of increased inflow into collection systems.  During heavy rainfall, wastewater collection pipes receive an inflow of rainwater which seeps into the pipes transporting sand.  Seepage bringing sand usually occurs without notice until the associated problems have become acute and require immediate attention.

I&I issues tend to be out of sight, out of mind.  The consequences of I&I tend to go undetected due to the fact that pipes are buried underground and since the water in tanks at the WWTP is not see-through, accumulated sand at the bottom of tanks remains unseen and unnoticed.

Eventually, the increase of sand into wastewater treatment infrastructure can reduce treatment volume and increase energy use.  Consider the value of:  First, restoring capacity versus replacing capacity when the sand is removed, capacity is restored in the structure at the WWTP.  Second, the capital cost to repair or replace pipe segments that may have high inflows.  Often, the first solution to solve I&I issues is to repair or replace the pipes; however, the cost-benefit of removing sand from the WWTP that is seeping into pipes may be more cost-effective than fixing the pipes.  For example, if the annual cost of maintenance is less than the cost of borrowing the capital to do the repair or replacement project, then removing sand at the WWTP may make more sense, especially given it is an immediate remedy of the unintended consequence of reduced capacity.  Finally, the benefit of reducing the amount of energy required to run blowers by removing sand can be significant.

When average daily wet season flows increase significantly compared to the dry season, then sand transported into the collection and treatment systems may be accumulating until it gets your attention. Don’t be taken by surprise; our dependable and knowledgeable team can assist in building your preventative maintenance plan to help.  Call (844) 765-7866 to customize a plan for your facility.

New Year, New Goals, New Plans

It’s that time of year again.  The time of year when we are tasked with setting plans in motion for the new year ahead.  For many, the new year means setting new goals.  Our business sets goals each year, and are only achieved when we have a written, realistic plan.

Our plans provide the tasks and activities required of the team and organization to achieve our goals.  The more thought given on unresolved issues while developing your plan, the fewer delays experienced during execution and implementation.

Given that some of our implementation or action plans are being finalized for 2018, it is a good time to revisit of some of the lessons learned that have reinforced the importance of measuring twice and cutting once.  Try institutionalizing the lessons learned so that they become best practices by all going forward

In order to develop a meaningful plan, an understanding or honest assessment of where we are, where we are headed, and what it will take to get there, is important.  The plan should be logical and rational so it makes sense to the people it is supposed to make sense to.

The person responsible or accountable to the organization for implementing the plan should also be responsible for developing the plan and given the authority to execute it.  Empowering responsibility, authority and accountability is necessary to achieve the goals.  Having ownership of the plan brings passion and pride to the effort.

During implementation, our execution or reactions may not play out as expected.  Oftentimes, expectations not unfolding as hoped can result in a human reaction of fear.  The fear that perhaps our judgement or the judgement of someone we have relied upon was wrong.  When this happens, stop, and remain focused on the plan.  The process of preparing our plans can anticipate likely or possible outcomes.

The new year is upon us.  Take the opportunity to give thought to your goals for 2018 and think about how best to get there. Remember, the plan is the ‘to-do’ list and steps required to achieve the goal which connects and reminds us of the bigger picture, or purpose of our work.  As we know, a picture is worth a thousand words, which brings us back to our goal, and is ultimately, our plan the whole time.
Denver Stutler, Jr.

2,500-Feet of Large Diameter Pipe Cleaned

Access Issues Not An Issue

 

USST is currently working for the City of Orlando removing sand, grit and material from 2,500 feet of 48-inch sanitary sewer pipe near Kirkman Road, leading to the City’s Conserv II Water Reclamation Facility.

USST crew hard at work in Orlando, FL

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.”

Access issues on the project included hard-to-reach manholes located on the opposite side of Shingle Creek. Access for equipment was also challenging as the 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 our Combination3® technology to easily overcome the obstacles in order to reach the job site and get the work done efficiently and safely.

USST’s Combination3® technology 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 are needed to be brought in, saving both time and resources for the client.

USST crew members cleaning hard-to-reach access points

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. Paul and Michael have a background in facility maintenance and as an operator, respectively, and have proven to be valuable members of our USST team. Having been with us for about two-years, Paul and Michael have grown within the company and logged many hours of training as well as on-the-job experience.

Specializing in hard-to-clean environments, our experienced crew expect the City of Orlando’s Conserv II project to be completed on schedule.

Check out our video to learn more about the Combination3® technology and the GritGone ProcessSM and give one of our representatives a call for a free quote at (844) 765-7866.

90-Tons Removed From WWTP

Facility Remained in Full Operation

For more than 5 years, the Avon Park WWTP has been accumulating unwanted sand and grit, a problem that often leads to increased energy costs and reduces plant efficiency.  USST’s reliable crew was able to safely and efficiently remove 90-tons of sand and grit from Avon Parks’s headworks and two digesters.

USST Combination3® Truck working in Avon Park.

With an ADF (average daily flow) of about 850,000 gallons per day and a permitted capacity of 1.5 MGD (millions of gallons per day), this facility sought to restore the capacity of their facility as a preventative maintenance measure.  Using our GritGone ProcessSM, the facility was cleaned while all structures remained in full operation and the removed material was paint-filter dry upon disposal.

Because of the capabilities of our patented Combination technology, the headworks did not require confined space entry, reducing liabilities for both ourselves and the client.  USST’s technology also utilizes an interchangeable system of both vacuum and downhole pumping methods, a crucial factor when cleaning structures such as headworks, lift stations, and pump stations.  Our vacuum removes matted FOGs from the top of the structure while our downhole pumping system removes debris from the bottom of the structure, all while the facility remains in full operation.

Our Reducing the Risk of Lift Station SSO article is a helpful resource to learn more about how our process is the safest and most efficient option to clean pump and lift stations, headworks and more.

Material removed from Avon Park facility.

In addition to Avon Park’s headworks, both digesters were also cleaned while remaining in full operation.  Our 49-foot knuckleboom crane provided easy access to the material, and no additional crane was needed.

USST stands alone as the only company to offer the unique and highly-effective service of waste and debris removal from wet infrastructure.  The capacity restoration services of USST can help utilities extend the life of their infrastructure, saving time, energy and money.

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

A Year in Review

2017 was a busy year for USST.  We took a look back at what we’ve been up to over the past year, and even surprised ourselves with what we discovered!  Check out a few fun facts below.

Reducing the Risk of Lift Station SSO

Wet wells are a frequent source of concern for most wastewater collection systems.  Systems rely on lift or pump stations to transport collected wastewater to a treatment plant.  Lift or pump stations typically include two to three pumps for redundancy that require periodic inspection and maintenance.  More often than not, the facility may only have one operable pump.  Oftentimes, the water elevation in a wet well cannot be lowered in high-flow conditions such as heavy rain periods or during tourist seasons, with only one operating pump.

Poorly maintained and operated lift stations can increase the risk of a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO).  They can accumulate a lot of sand and grit via I & I, reducing the capacity of the wet well.  The more material there is, the more frequent the pumps must start and stop due to reduced cycle times.  When material accumulates in the wet well and the lift station relies on only one working pump, the risk of SSO is increased.

USST Performing Wet Well Maintenance in Tallahassee, FL

Performing maintenance on wet wells is a problem worth solving in order to reduce pump run time and energy costs and prevent debris and material from accumulating and creating new issues downstream.  Access and confined space entry are also challenges associated with inspecting and maintaining lift stations that add to the complexity of getting the job done.

With these challenges, is there a way to restore wet well capacity easily and safely?  We believe there is.  USST has developed a new solution to restore the capacity of wet wells while they remain in full operation.  We are equipped with all the tools needed on our Combination Truck using our unique GritGone ProcessSM to get the job done safely and efficiently.  Our 49-foot reach allows us to solve most access issues, our jetter allows us to clean the structure, our vacuum removes the material on top (such as fats, oils and greases), and our downhole pump ability allows us to remove sand from the wet well while the lift or pump station remains in full operation.

Our ability to quickly switch between vacuuming and downhole pumping on the spot significantly increases our production rate by having the right tool for the job “on call.”  The typical vacuum truck must wait for a low-flow period; this is not an issue for USST.  Finally, our GritGone ProcessSM generates paint-filter dry sand, ready for disposal.

The USST crew complies with OSHA confined space regulations maintaining proper ventilation, measuring atmospheric conditions and receiving all required health and safety training.  Our team completes more than 40-hours of position-specific training with an experienced field supervisor, including space safety and awareness, fall protection, first aid training and more.

We believe restoring the design capacity of your wet well is a serious job and an important step towards reducing the risk of SSO.  Our goal is to get the job done in the safest and most efficient way possible.  Contact one of our qualified representatives to learn more about our wet well cleaning and inspecting capabilities at (844) 765-7866.

88.5 Cubic Yards Removed From WWTF

That’s More Than 17,000 Thanksgiving Turkeys!

 

The City of Winter Springs, Florida utilizes two wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF) to serve its population of more than 35,000 people.  136-miles of sewer mains transport all the city’s wastewater to the city’s East or West WWTF.  These two facilities combined are permitted to treat nearly 4.1 million gallons of wastewater per day.

USST Combination3® Truck at work in Winter Springs, FL

The City of Winter Springs, Florida utilizes two wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF) to serve its population of more than 35,000 people.  136-miles of sewer mains transport all the city’s wastewater to the city’s East or West WWTF.  These two facilities combined are permitted to treat nearly 4.1 million gallons of wastewater per day.

USST restored the capacity of both the East and West WWTF utilizing our GritGone ProcessSM, and both facilities were cleaned while remaining in full operation.  Our Combination truck removed approximately 88.5-CY of sand and grit and cleaned a total of 12 structures between both facilities.  Amongst those structures were aeration tanks, digesters and grit chambers.  One of the grit chambers was filled with about 10-feet of sand and grit!

Although accessing the structures was difficult, our Combination trucks are equipped with a 49-foot telescoping dripless tube system which allowed our crew to reach all structures without the need or cost of renting additional cranes.

Is your facility experiencing increased energy costs?  There may be sand and grit accumulating in your facility.  Give one of our dependable representatives a call at (844) 765-7866 or click here for a free quote.

In The USST Spotlight: Paul Stephenson

Paul Stephenson, Tech I

Say Hello to Paul Stephenson,

one of our hardworking Service Technicians here at USST.  A Navy veteran and former nomad turned Floridian, Paul isn’t afraid to try new things, loves a good challenge and has been with us for more than a year and a half.  Read on to learn some other surprising details about our team member.

Hometown:  Nowhere in particular.  I lived all over the place and never lived anywhere for more than a few years due to the military, but consider Orlando, Florida my home and favorite place to live so far.

What I Do as a Service Tech I:  Ensure jobs get done efficiently and safely.  It’s important the customer is happy with the services we provide.

Favorite Aspect of the Job:  I love the challenges.  No tank is the same and every new job is a new brain teaser to figure out the best way to handle it.  When you get the job done, it’s a good feeling.

Proudest Accomplishment at USST:  When we completed a 5-day job in just 3.5-days.

Motivation to Work Safe:  For me and the crew to leave the same way we got there.

My Inspiration:  To try to be the best person I can be.

My Family Would Describe Me As:  Adventurous

Lesson From Dad That I Live By:  Doesn’t matter what job you do, do it the best you can.

Favorite Movie/TV Show to Watch:  My Name Is Earl or any movie with Will Ferrell.

My Autobiography Would Be Called:  Tales of a Nomad

First Job:  Construction

Hobbies:  Hiking, photography, and playing softball with my daughter.

#1 Place I’d Like to Visit:  Australia

Who I’d Want to be Stranded With on a Deserted Island:  My two daughters.

Surprising Talent:  I’m an artist; I enjoy photography, painting and have even tattooed myself and a few friends.

One Song That Would Play Every Time I Entered a Room:  “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang.

One Word That Describes My Dancing Ability:  Horrid

Favorite Snack:  Pickled Sausage

Facility Remains in Full Operation While Cleaned

Capacity Restored in Charlotte County

The Burnt Store Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) treats wastewater from more than 1,200 sewer connections in a southeastern portion of Charlotte County.  Acquired by Charlotte County in 2003, the former 0.25 millions of gallons per day (MGD) facility underwent several upgrades, including doubling its treatment capacity to 0.5 MGD, as well as enabling the facility to simultaneously dispose of reject water and excess effluent produced by the plant.

Our Combination3® truck restoring capacity of a clarifier at Burnt Store WRF.

 

USST removed 21-cubic yards of sand and grit from three structures at Charlotte County’s Burnt Store WRF.  Thanks to our GritGone ProcessSM, the facility remained in full operation while the debris was removed.

John Thompson Jr., Chief Plant Operator at the Burnt Store WRF says, “The project that U.S. Submergent did for us was wonderful.  They not only helped with our grant application, but their crews were very accommodating and […] professional.”

Accessing particularly tall tanks, like Burnt Store’s 30(+)-foot EQ tank, can be challenging.  Luckily, our Combination3® trucks are equipped with a 49-foot knuckle boom crane with telescoping tubes.  This eliminated the need for additional equipment on the jobsite, saving the facility valuable time and money.

Got hard-to-reach places that need cleaning?  Interested in learning more about what USST can do?  Jump on a call with one of our qualified and dependable representatives, Michael or Randy, and they can help you figure out where the problem is and how USST can get your facility back to full capacity.

Safety in Movement

We are moving fast, every day, in both our personal and professional lives.  It is during these busy times when we must focus and be extra attentive of things in motion around us, including ourselves, especially when safety is the goal.

Safety matters most when we are moving; there is a higher probability of things happening that shouldn’t.  People, places, equipment, vehicles and more are constantly on the move, meaning more risk for the individual. “Falls” is the number one cited job site fatality in 2015 according to OSHA1, followed by “Struck By Object.”

Take a glance at OSHA’s “Top 10 OSHA Citations of 2016” if you’d like to learn more about common job site violations, or to simply serve as a reminder for the future.

A culture of safety requires paying attention throughout the day, particularly when there is more to pay attention to.  Consider the different levels of effort required to pay attention while driving in good weather compared to moving fast in heavy traffic in the rain.  As our CEO, Denver J. Stutler, likes to say, “What matters most, is getting it done when it matters!”

Focused individuals lead to a focused organization, which in turn leads to a more productive and enhanced overall operations, all while maintaining safety standards.  Stay safe out there!


1  https://www.osha.gov/oshstats/commonstats.html