Lanes Utilities is deploying a new 12,000 PSI jet vac tanker to tackle the menace of cowboy builders who dispose of concrete by simply pouring it down sewers.
By jetting even the heaviest blockages out, the new JHL high-pressure unit prevents the need for excavation to replace blocked pipes.
The specialist combination jetting and vacuum tanker has four times the power of a standard 3,000 PSI machine. It is supporting the maintenance work of Lanes Utilities on Thames Water's wastewater network.
Thames Water has become increasingly concerned about the instances of concrete causing sewer blockages. In February 2017, it required a major civil engineering project to remove a 10-metre section of main sewer under Hanover Park in Peckham, South London, which was found to be completely filled with concrete.
Lanes Utilities director Andy Brierley said: “In some cases, builders accidently pour concrete and other materials down drains and sewers, but in others it appears to be a deliberate act to avoid the need to dispose of it legitimately.
“While our Thames Water colleagues are escalating their legal response to such irresponsible actions, we realised we needed a new weapon in our armoury to tackle these extreme blockages.
“By their very nature, they can be devastating for whole communities. One moment a large sewer can be flowing freely, the next it can be completely blocked, or flooding, inconveniencing thousands of wastewater customers.”
The Combi jet vac tanker has three jetting reels, including a high-pressure jetting unit with a 130-metre hose that can jet at up to 11,637 pounds per square inch.
Its water jets are powerful enough to cut through concrete that has set inside sewer pipes. They can also slice through bricks, steel rods, and plastic pipes, as well as speed up removal of the toughest fatbergs, pipe scale and encrustations.
The vehicle is operated by Chris Costin and Dan Merry. Chris Constin said: “This is a very effective piece of kit. We can now cut large chunks of concrete and other material from inside pipes, and remove pretty much all traces of the blockage to reduce the risk of snagging and further blockages. If the sewer is blocked along its length, there may be no option but to excavate and replace it. But for a lot of our most serious blockage problems, we've now stepped up several levels in our capability to deal with them.”