Streamline Sewer Line Cleaning With a High-Def Video Nozzle

A jetting nozzle that records video while it cleans provides a one-two productivity punch

Streamline Sewer Line Cleaning With a High-Def Video Nozzle

 Jon Korotko, a field superintendent and division manager at PowerVac of Michigan, says the Envirosight Jetscan nozzle makes his crew more efficient because it combines cleaning and inspection in one process.

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Imagine the productivity and profitability jump achieved by jetting and inspecting a sewer line simultaneously.

Jon Korotko doesn’t have to imagine it. The field superintendent at PowerVac of Michigan experiences it every time he turns his vac truck into a camera truck with the Jetscan high-definition video nozzle from Envirosight.

“It’s hard to quantify, but it absolutely does increase our profitability,” says Korotko, who is also a division manager at the municipal and industrial cleaning company based in Novi, about 25 miles northwest of downtown Detroit. Established in 1995, the company employs about 110 people and primarily serves customers in southeastern Michigan.

“We see about a 25% time savings on an average job, which allows us more time to expedite additional service calls,” he says.

Most of the time Korotko saves money by eliminating the need for time-consuming step cleaning. Any sewer cleaner knows the drill: Insert a jetting nozzle into a line, clean a certain distance, vacuum up the pulled-back debris, move the vac truck, position a camera truck, insert the camera and take a look at what’s ahead, remove the camera, move the camera truck and restation the vac truck. Rinse. Repeat.

This process also adds costs for customers because they get charged for the vac truck when it sits idle and the camera truck is working, and vice versa. The Jetscan unit eliminates the need for a camera truck, which allows the company to better deploy its assets — and save customers money, Korotko says.

Saving water

The Jetscan also has reduced the company’s water usage on an average job by about 50%, thanks to shorter cleaning time, says Korotko, a certified inspector via the Pipeline Assessment Certification Program run by the National Association of Sewer Service Companies.

“When you’re jetting a pipe at 1,200 psi at 80 gpm, you use a lot of water quickly. And once you run out of water, you either have to bring out a water truck or go back to the yard and water up. But now, since the camera shows us what we’re dealing with while we clean, we might be able to clean, say, a 400-foot-long, 12-inch-diameter line in two passes and use 1,000 gallons of water, compared to emptying the truck out while doing multiple passes,” Korotko explains.

Seeing what’s ahead inside the pipe also boosts efficiency because the crew can determine early on what kind of specialty nozzle might be needed to cut through roots, clean grease, handle gravel or sludge and so forth, he adds.

A key feature is an SD memory card on which high-definition video is recorded. When a cleaning job is finished, an operator removes the card, inserts it into an adaptor and plugs it into a cellphone or a tablet. At that point, the video file automatically uploads for immediate viewing. (Footage also can be streamed wirelessly to a tablet.)

“You know the conditions you’re facing right away,” Korotko says. “It saves so much time compared to multiple camera truck and vac truck setups. In effect, we’re cameraing and jetting at the same time.”

Korotko says he can email video files to customers right away, too. “It makes us look like we’re a high-tech company. And customers love to get information virtually instantly. … It gives them peace of mind.”

Simple operation

The unit is easy to use. It screws onto a jetting hose, just like a conventional jetting nozzle. Then press the record button and go to work, he says.

The Jetscan costs about $14,000, including the skids. It’s battery powered and charges wirelessly; on a full charge, Korotko says it can run for about six hours. The unit also features high-intensity LED lights, two quick-change sleds designed for pipes from less than 6 inches up to 8 inches in diameter and from 8 to 24 inches in diameter.

Korotko also praises the Jetscan’s rounded, bullet-shaped skid/cage, which features rounded corners that make it easier to navigate on pullbacks and minimize snagging on offset joints or protruding taps.

That’s not to say the Jetscan has made other inspection cameras unnecessary, Korotko cautions.

“The Jetscan is a purpose-built camera that we use for general sewer cleaning and scheduled maintenance. You can’t see what the camera recorded until you pull it out and view the video. Camera trucks still have a place for PACP inspections, where you need a live view while you’re recording pipe defects and so forth.”

PowerVac owns six camera trucks it outfitted in-house. It relies on inspection cameras made by Advanced Inspection Technologies, Envirosight, R.S. Technical Services and Insight | Vision.

Established in 1995, the company also runs 15 Vactor 2100 combination sewer vacuum trucks, nine Vactor HXX hydroexcavation vacuum trucks and one industrial vacuum truck built by Guzzler. Crews use jetting nozzles manufactured by StoneAge, KEG Technologies and Enz USA.

Impressive results

Korotko says customers are impressed by how quickly the Jetscan can diagnose sewer line problems, and they appreciate the cost savings that results from eliminating the need for camera trucks. And employees like it, too.

“It’s one of those technologies where you think, ‘Why didn’t someone think of this years ago?’” he says. “Our guys fight over who gets to use the Jetscan because it saves so much time. It’s been such a good investment that we plan to buy three more.” 


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