350 Tons of Material Removed from Basins in Central Florida

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A Challenging Environment Calls for Skillful Pros In Central Florida, a 12 MGD reclamation facility was experiencing a loss of capacity in their north aeration and anoxic basins.  These tanks presented a challenge because they were lined with rows of diffusers that circulate oxygen feeding the microorganisms and bacteria residents that break down the waste.  This job required experienced professionals to access and remove the built-up material, so the customer called on U.S. Submergent Technologies (USST) for a solution.  USST has cleaned tanks, pipes, and lift stations on over 400 projects around the United States.  Our qualified crews know how to evaluate situations on the ground to get the job done safely and efficiently. “I am proud of our guys for navigating the hard-to-reach environment along the bottom of these tanks and capably removing large amounts of material,” said Eric Pace, Foreman at USST.  “Our patented equipment and thorough safety measures allowed us to get into these structures and complete the job safely without any incidents.” At USST, safety is our number one priority, and these structures were vast in size and 20-feet off the ground.  By executing a site-specific health and safety plan, our crews implemented confined space entry … Read More

63 Tons of Material Removed from Rural Treatment Plant

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Florida Sand and Grit Grant Program Reimburses Restoration Costs A rural community located in Southeast Florida’s Treasure Coast was experiencing capacity issues with their wastewater treatment plant’s multi-tank.  Specifically, inside their chlorine contact chamber, which disinfects and treats the wastewater.  A considerable amount of debris was clogging up this structure and decreasing efficiency at the plant. This municipal wastewater treatment plant collects and treats more than 500,000 gallons of wastewater per day and met the qualifications for reimbursement through Florida’s Sand and Grit Grant Program, which makes it possible for publicly owned facilities averaging 3MGD or less to address the issues of sand and grit accumulation by reimbursing 50-100% of restoration costs.  “U.S. Submergent Technologies (USST) worked with us to help make the process of restoring capacity at our plant as seamless as possible,” said Patrick Nolan, Utilities Manager at the Village of Indiantown.  “USST’s knowledgeable crew was professional and completed the job expeditiously while our plant remained online.  The funding available through the Florida Sand and Grit Grant program helps rural municipalities like ours continue to serve our community with excellence.”  USST came in and removed debris from the 70-foot in diameter, 18-foot-high structure with no need to drain … Read More

977 Tons of Sand Removed From EQ Tank

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A Massive Job Calls for USST’s Expert Knowledge A large primary clarifier serving as an equalization tank at a city’s wastewater treatment facility had accumulated 16-foot-high mounds of sand along the bottom, seriously reducing its capacity and potentially passing grit through the treatment process.  U.S. Submergent Technologies’ (USST) expertly trained crew set about to handle cleaning this massive 125-foot in diameter structure.  “Our knowledgeable crews have a proven keen ability to navigate obstacles on the ground and this job presented some unique challenges,” said Paul Del Favero, Operations Manager at USST.  “This tank was huge, it’s covered, and the walls were about 25 feet high, so accessing the material inside was not going to be easy. By utilizing specialized equipment, we were able to set up our process inside the structure and clean out the sand efficiently and without damaging the structure.” Crew members extended hydraulic lines and ran a 120-foot hose setting up a pump to run on our powerful Combination3® Truck.  Using our GritGone Process®, USST removed sand and grit while returning decanted water back to the plant for further treatment. The crew used reclaimed water from the facility to clean the structure. All these measures contributed to … Read More

Laser Focus: Safety on the Road at USST

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On any given day at U.S. Submergent Technologies (USST), crews mobilizing Class 8 (any vehicle over 33,000 lbs.) commercial vehicles equipped with specialized cleaning equipment, depart from our operations hub in Orlando Florida.  Their destinations are wastewater treatment facilities and critical wet infrastructure all over Florida and parts of the Southeast.  Their purpose is clear; to safely restore the capacity of wet infrastructure nobody notices but everybody relies upon.  When this professional group of experienced and knowledgeable CDL drivers gets on the road, one word, and one thing is at the top of everyone’s list, safety.   “At USST, we employ professional CDL drivers because it is a serious business moving heavy equipment and operating commercial vehicles on the road,” said Paul Meding, General Manager at USST.  “We scrutinize our drivers based on the highest safety standards and hold them accountable through our company’s Driver and Fleet Safety Program.  We focus on ongoing training and providing resources for our drivers to do their best on the roads.  The unique type of equipment we’re using every day furthers the need for our emphasis on safety.  These efforts lead to better employee productivity and a significant reduction of the risks we must … Read More

364 Tons of Material Removed from Town’s Wastewater Plant

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USST Crew Responds to Changed Conditions Adeptly In rural Northeast Florida, a municipal wastewater treatment plant operating at .4 MGD was reaching critical capacity loss with their surge tank.  This large multi-chamber tank, which is essential to the overall health and functionality of daily operations at the plant, required cleaning.  U.S. Submergent Technologies (USST) was called in to assess the structure and remove the buildup of sand and grit throughout this wastewater tank. “This project was estimated to have 36 tons of material in the tank, but once we got on-site, we were dealing with at least seven feet of material along the bottom of this structure, much more than originally expected,” said Paul Stephenson, Foreman at USST.  “Combining our experience and knowledge from cleaning hundreds of wastewater tanks, our crew was able to handle several challenges presented on the ground with accessing and removing the material in the safest and most efficient manner possible.” USST’s versatile Combination3® Truck has a 49-foot extendable boom, which was necessary to reach over the tank’s 20-foot wall, and by extending a 150-foot hose to our truck’s powerful vacuum, the crew reached and disposed of 23 loads of material.  In total, 364 tons of … Read More

80-Cubic Yards of Sand and Grit Removal from Lift Station

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Challenging Confined Space Entry in Anastasia Island Anastasia Island’s Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) was experiencing reduced pumping capacity due to accumulated solids in their influent lift station, a facility with a permitted capacity of 4.95MGD.  Due to the challenging nature of the 35-foot deep structure, Anastasia Island’s wet well hadn’t been cleaned in several years, resulting in the accumulation of a significant amount of material. “The pump station consists of four Gorman-Rupp self-priming solids handling centrifugal pumps,” explained James Overton, P.E., at the St. Johns County Utility Department (SJCUD).  “Due to grit and rags that accumulated, one pump was completely out of service and the pumping capacity of a second pump was greatly reduced and beginning to clog on a regular basis.  SJCUD was concerned about losing another pump and needed to take action.” With the help of USST’s Combination3® truck and equipment, the USST crew removed 80-CY of material from the wet well via confined space entry.  Due to high levels of H2S (hydrogen sulfide) gas, USST crew members were extremely cautious when entering the wet well during the project. “We follow all safety and compliance procedures when entering a confined space, taking extra care when high levels of … Read More

Limiting Time in the Tank

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CONFINED SPACE ENTRY IN THE WASTEWATER INDUSTRY Confined spaces can be deadly.  Each year, many people are seriously injured or killed while working or attempting to rescue those in confined spaces across a wide range of industries. The term “permit-required confined space” is defined by OSHA as possessing one or more of the following characteristics: Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere Has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area that could trap or asphyxiate an entrant Contains other recognized safety or health hazards, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires or heat stress In the wastewater maintenance industry, there are many situations that can require confined space entry, most commonly when structures have limited or no means of ingress or egress such as wet wells, digesters, or aeration basins with high tank walls.  The removal of rag material from wastewater structures is another circumstance where confined space entry is most likely required during maintenance routines. Dangers of confined spaces within wastewater infrastructure can include: Lack of oxygen Poisonous gases, fumes or vapors Liquids, solids or gases that can suddenly fill the space or release gases into it Lack … Read More

Ops Challenge Takes Over FWRC

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If you were one of the 3,850 attendees at the Florida Water Resources Conference last week, you may have had the privilege of checking out the some of the FWRC Ops Challenge events.  Known as the “Olympics of the Wastewater Industry,” the Ops Challenge follows teams of four as they compete in a series of events, including Process Control, Laboratory, Maintenance, Collections, and Safety in order to secure a spot at the national competition at WEFTEC. This year, seven teams competed in the overall Ops Challenge, with clever team names such as Destin’s Positive Influents, JEA’s Fecal Matters, St. Petersburg’s Dirty Birds, GRU’s True Grit, St. Cloud’s Methane Madness, and Orange County’s Treatment Outlaws. Team Positive Influents from Destin Water Users, Inc. (DWU) was one of the smallest and only private organization competing in the 2018 Ops Challenge, representing a total of 65 employees.  Lead by Logan Law, Destin’s Wastewater Operations Specialist, all members were Class A Operators, and this was their second year competing.  Positive Influents came in first in Process Control and placed second in Collections, having won both events last year in their first year competing. During the Safety event, teams must respond to a worker that … Read More

Lift Station Maintenance Made Easy

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REDUCE THE RISK OF SANITARY SEWER OVERFLOW IN WET WELLS Wet well and lift station maintenance are a frequent source of concern for most wastewater collection systems. Performing regular maintenance can be difficult due to access challenges, costs associated with shutting down pumps, and confined space entry permitting and safety issues.   Wastewater 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 — all of which require periodic inspection and maintenance.  More often than not, a wastewater facility may only have one operable pump. Additionally, the water elevation in a wet well cannot be lowered in high-flow conditions such as heavy rain periods or during tourist seasons. With one operating pump, traditional maintenance can seem nearly impossible. However, in order to reduce pump run time, reduce energy costs, and prevent debris from accumulating and creating new issues downstream, lift station maintenance is critical.    Performing regular lift station maintenance reduces the risk of sanitary sewer overflow (SSO), a scenario where untreated wastewater is discharged from a sewer into the environment before reaching a wastewater treatment facility. SSO can have extremely negative consequences for the … Read More

Safety in Movement

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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 … Read More