Iowa Contractor Easily Cleans Pipe in Hard-To-Access Areas Thanks to Dyna-Vac Jetting Machine

Rubber-tracked jetting machine allows Iowa contractor to clean lines with difficult access and open up new market niches

Iowa Contractor Easily Cleans Pipe in Hard-To-Access Areas Thanks to Dyna-Vac Jetting Machine

Steven Bucklin, co-owner of Absolute Pipe, uses the Dyna-Vac Rhino RH-100 jetting machine. Pipe cleaning jobs with difficult access points haven’t been a problem since the company acquired the unit.

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Cleaning sewers lines under hard-to-access property easements used to be a tantalizing but unattainable market niche for Steven Bucklin, co-owner of Absolute Pipe in Newton, Iowa, a small rural town about 30 miles west of Des Moines.

“We knew there was easement work out there, but we couldn’t do it,” says Bucklin, who co-owns the company with Rod and Michelle Jenkins. “It was frustrating.”

But that all changed dramatically last summer when the company, which cleans and inspects  sewer lines and does trenchless pipeline rehab work throughout Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, bought a Rhino RH-100 easement reel machine, made by Dyna-Vac Equipment.

The cost? About $50,000 for a demo model. The result? A profitable new revenue stream. 

“We bought it in July and have been using it pretty much every day,” Bucklin says. “It has more than paid for itself. It’s been a great investment.”

The company typically hooks up the Rhino to its Vactor 2100 combination vacuum truck, equipped with a 10-cubic-yard debris tank, a 1,000-gallon water tank, a Roots blower (a brand owned by Ingersoll Rand Inc.) and a Vactor single-piston water pump (up to 80 gpm at 2,500 psi).

For inspecting pipelines, the company relies on a Rovver X wheeled robotic camera from Envirosight.


The rubber-tracked machine features a reel that manually swivels 180 degrees; hydraulically powered hose payout and retrieval with variable speed control; a footage counter; detachable outriggers for stability on uneven terrain; work lights; and a 23 hp gasoline engine. It weighs 2,900 pounds and is about 7 1/2 feet long and 6 feet tall.

The unit’s standard hose reel can hold up to 600 feet of 1-inch-diameter jetting hose. It comes with 500 feet of 1-inch-diameter, 2,500 psi hose. Bucklin says he opted for an optional 800-foot-capacity hose reel and 800 feet of 1-inch hose.

“That gives us more flexibility to tackle more jobs,” he says.

As an example, Bucklin cites an instance where a sewer line was about 190 feet away from the Vactor truck and one of the manholes needed to access and clean about 750 feet of sewer line was almost impossible to reach.

“It was fairly easy to access one manhole, but the second manhole was in a heavily wooded area with a lot of poison ivy,” Bucklin says. “So we would’ve had to drag about another 375 feet of hose to a third manhole in order to clean the line.”

But with 800 feet of jetting hose on the truck and the 800 feet of hose on the Rhino, technicians had more than enough hose available to clean the entire run of sewer from just the one accessible manhole.


The company decided to invest in an easement machine after landing a large contract to inspect and clean about 700,000 feet of mostly 10-, 12- and 15-inch sanitary sewer lines in a town in northwest Indiana.

“We’re doing a systemwide assessment, inspecting every line in town and cleaning where it’s needed,” Bucklin says. “About 40,000 feet of the project involves sewer lines in backyards and wooded areas. We’ve been working on this job for nearly three years, and so far we’ve cleaned about 200,000 feet of sewer lines.”

Historically, the lines had only been cleaned on an emergency basis, so company technicians have found some pipes that were 90% blocked with dirt and debris, Bucklin notes.


The Rhino provides many benefits. It’s easy to use, with two joysticks for driving and one for maneuvering the jetter hose.

“You could easily run it after only a day of getting familiar with it,” Bucklin says. “It’s pretty simple to operate. It’s very well-engineered and well-designed.”

In addition, the machine helps prevent worker fatigue by literally doing the heavy lifting when it comes to transporting hose that technicians would otherwise have to move manually. And the tracks don’t tear up residential lawns the way wheels can, Bucklin says.

Moreover, the machine’s rubber tracks retract from their normal 46-inch width down to 35 inches at the push of a button; this allows it to pass through fence gates.

“One city we worked for was pretty certain we wouldn’t be able to get through the gates on some residential properties,” Bucklin says. “But we were able to get through. It was pretty cool.”

The machine has also bolstered the company’s revenue by opening up a new market for easement work.

“Now that we can provide easement service, we’ve had other municipal customers inquire about our services,” Bucklin says. “They heard about it through word-of-mouth. The Rhino has been invaluable because without it, we’d be outsourcing easement work to other companies.”


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