Leaking city water lines repaired faster with hydro-excavation

Sept. 25, 2009

Like many municipalities, the city of New Philadelphia, Ohio, is constantly moderating and repairing aged waterlines. However, a recent audit by the state found one leak was losing 10 gal of water per minute. The audit also discovered that the city was losing over 300 million gal of treated water per year. Because of the severity of the leakage, the pressure was on the water department to speed up the repair process.

Like many municipalities, the city of New Philadelphia, Ohio, is constantly moderating and repairing aged waterlines. However, a recent audit by the state found one leak was losing 10 gal of water per minute. The audit also discovered that the city was losing over 300 million gal of treated water per year. Because of the severity of the leakage, the pressure was on the water department to speed up the repair process.

The AllJetVac 1215 , the latest in the line of Vacall combination sewer cleaners and hydro-excavators, is being used to locate leaks and make repairs in less time than old methods.

Crews cut the asphalt pavement and remove debris with a backhoe loader until they can get into the vicinity of the water line. The machine’s hydro-excavating handgun is then used to loosen and cut through the soil, rock and clay around the pipe as workers search for the actual leak spot.

The 8-ft 6-in. telescoping boom vacuums the material into a 12-yd debris tank. Fabricated with standard multistage airflow technology, the tank is designed to increase machine life, reduce maintenance expense and soften noise levels. The positive displacement vacuum utilizing an 8 x 24 blower constantly clears debris from the leakage area.

The handgun and pump are capable of blasting water at 3,000 psi at 10 gal per minute. By using less water, the combination sewer cleaner is able to operate at a remarkable capacity while keeping excess sludge material to a minimum. This keeps workers working more and spending less time emptying the debris tank. A 1,500-gal heavy-wall aluminum water tank also keeps workers on the job, reducing fill-up trips.

Kelli Ricklic, superintendent for the New Philadelphia Water Department, said it normally takes a full day to repair a single water main leak. On the first day, the department used the combination sewer cleaner and the crews located three problem areas: two where they located valves and shut off leaking secondary lines and one where they repaired a main line. All three leaks were repaired in less than six hours, saving about two days of work.

“The [machine] saves us a ton of time,” Ricklic said. “It also keeps the work area safe by eliminating the need to work within the excavation site.”

Safe sludge dumping is also handled efficiently with a tilt mechanism and rear door opening.

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