Vac Trucks Get It Done

Mississippi contractor relies on Vactor combination vac trucks for power and productivity.
Vac Trucks Get It Done
Vactor operator Scott Dykes of B Clean in Laurel, Mississippi, cleans a sewer line outside an apartment complex. The company owns four Vactors it uses for everything from hydroexcavating to cleaning chicken processing plants.

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When you say you can get the job done, you better follow through. That’s exactly why B Clean, a multifaceted service contractor based in Laurel, Mississippi, has been investing in Vactor 2100 combination trucks for more than a decade.

The highly diversified company — which does sewer cleaning and inspections, wet and dry industrial and municipal vacuuming, hydroexcavating, hydroblasting and power washing — owns four 2100s (two are 2100 Plus models equipped with hydroexcavating packages). They’re used for everything from jetting sewer lines and cleaning lift stations and manholes on the municipal side to cleaning drainlines in chicken-processing plants, sawmills and paper mills on the industrial side.

“Vactors do a great job of holding pressure and vacuuming,” says Chris Hodge, sales manager for the company, founded in 2000 and marketed under the slogan, “We’ll get the job done.”

The company serves Southeastern United States (primarily Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi). “They are top-of-the-line units that function well and are quality-built. And they are sleek, good-looking trucks, too.”

Hodge says that when B Clean crews pull up on a job site, the last thing they want to project is the image of a company that does things on the cheap. While some may call this effective branding or market differentiation, Hodge says it’s also about professionalism. Moreover, it’s hard to justify charging customers good money when equipment looks shoddy and ill-maintained.

“The 2100s are made out of stainless steel — no plastic,” he points out. “They look like high-quality pieces of equipment. Even our oldest truck, bought in 2005, still looks very good. We put a lot of emphasis on looking professional and doing quality work. That’s how we get repeat customers.”

The trucks are built on Kenworth, Ford and International chassis. They each feature a 3,000-gallon debris tank, a Vactor water pump that generates pressure of 3,000 psi and flow of 80 gpm for jetter cleaning, a 6,000 cfm Roots Systems (Howden Roots) blower, a 1,500-gallon water tank, a 15-foot-long boom that rotates up to 180 degrees for maximum coverage, a hydraulically operated rear debris-tank door and 600 feet of 1-inch-diameter hose.

One of B Clean’s biggest markets is cleaning out drainlines that clog up with chicken fat and other debris in poultry-processing plants. Unclogging drains quickly is critical because if water can’t flow through these plants’ complex pipeline systems, the plant must shut down. “These plants use about 10 gallons of water per chicken and process a million chickens a week,” he explains. “The water carries a lot of the waste through the system and then is recycled. When there’s no water flowing through those 12-inch lines, they lose thousands of dollars’ worth of production every minute.

“Anything can get in those lines and stop them up,” he adds. “So we’ve got to be there to quickly remove whatever is clogging them up.”

Cleaning hard-to-access sewer lines that might run more than 500 or 1,000 feet from a roadway also poses a challenge. But the 2100s are always up to the task. “For some remote sewer lines, we might have to add more (jetter) hose … so we might be working with 1,000 feet of hose,” Hodge notes. “But the trucks still hold pressure just fine.”

The 2100s also excel at another tough job: cleaning out lift stations up to 30 feet deep. “It’s hard to get water that deep up and into the truck,” Hodge says. “But the 2100 blower is the best option to do that kind of work. It can move enough material to stay ahead of the water flow.”

To increase productivity and efficiency, B Clean adds an optional 4-inch sludge pump on each truck. The pumps off-load material while the unit keeps on vacuuming, which allows them to run continuously, as opposed to stopping so crews can open a valve and gravity-dump the accumulated waste, which is a time-consuming — and profit-killing — process. “The sludge pumps sometimes will cut the time it takes us to do a job by 50 percent,” Hodge says.

Speaking of continuous operation, Hodge says he’s seen the 2100s run as much as 48 hours without stopping while they, for instance, skim debris from an aerobic sewer lagoon. That testifies to the trucks’ reliability — another key asset, since downtime reduces productivity and profitability while decreasing customer satisfaction.

“We don’t commonly do that, but it’s good to know that we can if we have to,” Hodge says. “Running 12 to 16 hours in a row is not unusual. Reliability is one of the things that keeps us in business. Like our slogan says, it’s all about getting the job done.”


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