Vacuuming: The Other Half of the Combination Unit

Increase efficiency with thorough training and proper use of both vacuum and jetting components
Vacuuming: The Other Half of the Combination Unit

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Most training for pipeline cleaning focuses on the jetting component, but the removal of debris can be the most time-consuming part of the job. Proper training and use of the vacuum half of a combination unit is just as important. Being an effective operator requires mastery of both components in order to use the combination truck to its full extent.

“Using combination units, vacuuming can fall by the wayside. If you’re not using it you’re starting over at square one,” says Rick Lewis, a wastewater collections consultant. He started out as a manufacturer representative after retiring from the Marine Corps and now has over 23 years of experience in wastewater collections. He specializes in collections equipment and its use in day-to-day operations.

Lewis will be presenting “Vacuuming: The Other Half of the Combination Unit” at the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport (WWETT) Show on Education Day, Feb. 17, at 1:30-2:30 p.m. in rooms 231-233. He will give an overview of the vacuum system and its functions in order to help operators learn effective use of the equipment.

“It’s also important to understand the differences between a fan combination unit and a PD unit, and determine which best fits what you need to do. You need the right machine for the job. And maintenance on each is important,” Lewis says.  

“(A combination unit) is a big investment. You need the operators to know how to use it properly and take care of your investment. Whether it’s a fan or a PD unit, you need proper protection, the right filtration system and proper maintenance in order to make the unit last.”

Even veteran operators can learn from Lewis’ session. “There is always another way to do things. Learn to effectively work the truck like it should be used. Vacuuming drops off after buying a combo. New guys are often taught more about jetting than vacuuming, and then later people wonder why it’s not going well. Training is very important,” he says.

“It’s your system now, not the manufacturer’s system, so you should be hungry to learn everything you can about it.”


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