HOWARD — It took a year to be fitted to the hilt and delivered. But the Knox County Water/Wastewater Department now has the all-in-one equipment needed to take on any sewer-related project or water line-related project with full steam: The Model 900 Eco Combination Sewer Cleaner truck.
The large, semi-size truck arrived a few weeks ago offering multiple on-board cleaning systems, including a large, black, boom-mounted, pump-operated vacuum hose that can swing out 180 degrees; a motorized spool with 800 feet of hose for pumping water into areas to clean them with jetter-fitted devices; a debris tank that holds up to 1,400 gallons; and two water tanks holding 600 gallons each. Controls were mounted on the curbside of the vehicle so county workers are facing yards, not the street. The system also contains a separate pump and hose for cleaning off the truck itself.
County Water/Wastewater Director Jeff Pickrell said the 900 Eco truck is already paying dividends, both in the amount of work it can take on and how quickly that work gets done. The vacuum pump, for example, is capable of pumping debris into the holding tank at a rate of 800 gallons a minute. He acknowledged that being a brand new truck, one with a price tag of $380,638, it will probably never look as it good as it does now as sewer-related uses ensue.
“One of our guys actually has some chrome to stick on the mudflaps to make it look even a bit shinier and newer,” he said.
The water/wastewater department has already used the 900 Eco truck in the past two weeks to handle wet well cleaning, Pickrell said. Wet wells are part of a sewage pump station in which the sewage flows through. They can get clogged and need periodic cleaning. With the coronavirus pandemic happening, one thing Pickrell and his crew see, and have to unclog, are disinfectant wipes people flush down their toilets.
People can think of what the truck does as a combination of vacuuming and power washing, he said, adding, “this 900 Eco is basically pretty simple. It works like a Shop-Vac but on a much more industrial scale.”
The water/wastewater department is responsible for maintaining 20 sewer pump stations, often in circumstances when the sewage is pumped uphill. The sewer treatment plant in Howard serves the Apple Valley area as well as Bladensburg and Pleasant View Acres.
The water/wastewater department is financing the truck through a national cooperative leasing program, which provides for seven annual payments of $63,189. Revenue for the payments comes from bills paid by water and sewer customers, and without touching the county’s general fund, Pickrell said. The crew that operates the truck is required to hold current CDL licenses with a tanker endorsement.
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