Mid-Size Combination Sewer Truck Makes an Impact

A compact, versatile non-CDL vac truck can go where larger units can’t

Mid-Size Combination Sewer Truck Makes an Impact

 Miksis Services operator Ivan Iverson uses hydroexcavation equipment on an iMPACT combination sewer truck built by Vactor to expose a sewer main in Healdsburg, California.

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For years, Gary Miksis — owner of California-based Miksis Services — had to periodically turn down work because his Vactor 2100 combination sewer trucks were too big to access job sites.

Or in some instances, Miksis would take on the jobs, but they’d require long hose runs and multiple employees to jet debris from manhole to manhole to manhole before reaching an accessible location where a truck could vacuum it up.

“Pretty soon you’re pushing debris, say, 1,000 feet before a truck could vacuum it up,” he explains. “And the farther you have to drag debris, the more debris you accumulate, which makes jobs take longer.”

But now those days are gone, thanks to the compact iMPACT combination sewer truck built by Vactor. The company — located in Healdsburg, about 70 miles north of San Francisco — took delivery of the unit last December.

“It’s remarkable how we now can drive down narrow roadways and maneuver in cul-de-sacs to clean residential 6- and 8-inch-diameter sewer lines,” says Miksis, who established the business in 1981. The company does everything from trenchless pipe rehab and cleaning residential sewer lines to hydroexcavation and industrial cleaning.

“We don’t have to ask people to move their cars or worry about low tree branches and narrow, one-way roads,” he continues. “We just go in and do the jobs. It’s opened a lot of doors for us.”

In addition, operators don’t need a commercial driver’s license to drive the unit, which is no small thing these days with qualified labor in short supply.

“It’s impossible to find people,” Miksis says. “So with a non-CDL vehicle, any of our guys can jump into and do a job. It’s a real advantage.”

Moreover, with a smaller Vactor water pump that generates pressure up to 40 gpm and flow of 2,500 psi, instead of the typical 60 to 80 gpm at 2,000 to 2,500 psi produced by a larger pump on a conventional vac truck, operators can clean lines without concern about damaging homes.

“We don’t worry about blowing out toilets and destroying bathrooms,” he says.

Versatile vehicle

The truck features a 2020 Freightliner M2 chassis equipped with a 3 1/2-cubic-yard debris tank, a 500-gallon aluminum water tank, 500 feet of 3/4-inch-diameter hose, a front-mounted hose reel that rotates 180 degrees and a 2,500 cfm blower from Roots (Howden).

The truck also features a hydroexcavation package that further boosts its capabilities.

“It’s such a versatile machine,” Miksis says. “Along with cleaning storm drains and sanitary sewer lines, we can excavate clean-outs and expose underground utility lines.”

Furthermore, with a 3/4-inch water hose instead of a 1-inch hose typically found on larger trucks, the iMPACT truck uses less water, which is an important consideration while working under water-use restrictions in drought-stricken California, he says.

Another advantage: The controls are identical to those found on the Vactor 2100 conventional-size combination trucks, of which the company owns three. As such, there was little to no learning curve for the company’s truck operators, he says.

“Our guys just jumped into it and started working it. The controls are very intuitive and it’s easy to operate.”

Niche applications

While the iMPACT truck offers enough power and performance for its size, it’s not suited for all applications, Miksis points out.

“You sacrifice some vacuum power and the water pump is smaller. But you don’t always need 60 or 80 gpm to get jobs done.

“It wouldn’t be the first piece of equipment I’d buy. There are limits to what it can do in terms of carrying debris and water. But it’s another tool in our toolbox that fits in between our truck-mounted Harben water jetter (14 gpm at 4,000 psi) and our larger conventional vacuum trucks.”

The company also relies on four Classic wet/dry vacuum trucks built by Guzzler Mfg. and pipeline inspection cameras made by Subsite Electronics.

Great ROI

The iMPACT truck carries about a $280,000 price tag, which in this case included “all the bells and whistles,” Miksis says. While that’s a significant upfront investment, Miksis notes it’s still considerably less expensive than a larger vac truck. Plus it has proven to be a valuable productivity- and revenue-enhancing addition to the company’s fleet of equipment.

“It’s paying for itself, for sure,” he says. “In fact, I’ve got customers that call and specifically ask if that truck is available.

“It’s not something you’d go out and buy if you didn’t already have the capability to do other kinds of work. But it’s a unique machine that opens up a lot of other avenues for us.” 


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