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2020 / 2021 Edition

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United Utilities choose DISAB truck-mounted vacuum systems

Stainless steel trucks allow company to handle a range of hazardous material

United Utilities is the largest water company in the UK and Ian Smith, the Vactor services manager, looks after the cleaning requirements of their 650 waste water treatment plants, 220 portable water treatment plants and 2,500 pumping stations in the sewer network in the North of England.

To support this network they employ 22 full-time service staff and utilize three DISAB truck-mounted vacuum systems in their fleet of specialist maintenance vehicles.

The DISAB trucks feature blowing as well as sucking capability and with an airflow of 8,500ft3 at 80% vacuum there are suitable for the wide range of tasks carried out by United Utilities.

Gotland are now part of the DISAB Group, leaders in low-noise mobile and stationary vacuum systems. The DISAB Group are best known for their high-powered truck-mounted vacuum systems that are used for sucking, blowing and tipping all kinds of dry and wet material. They represent the ultimate in usable vacuum power for industrial applications.

United Utilities bought their first DISAB truck in 2006 and soon realized that they needed a further two in the fleet. Because of the large number of assets they look after, there is a constant demand for the DISAB trucks they have and for those they can hire from approved contractors.

Ian Smith commented: ‘What people don’t see of water treatment plants is what we’re dealing with and maintaining all the time; the deep lifting of sludge and grit from detention tanks, storm overflows and so on. One of the deepest we have on our books is 40m down, underneath of all places the car park at Blackpool FC!

‘Maintaining these facilities means they work efficiently. If we didn’t do this the sewer and water systems would soon become unserviceable and our industrial and residential customers would soon notice the difference. A 30m lift of several tonnes of heavy wet material is very typical of a day’s work for the DISAB trucks, but one of the most unusual tasks was when we used their power to blow pea gravel up 30m into a biological filter plant at Birkenhead.

‘We had to shift 1,200 tonnes of this gravel and it took two DISAB trucks two weeks. There was a compliance issue with this particular plant, so we threw everything we had at it. Because we had the DISAB trucks, we reckon it took us half the time it would have done by standard lifting techniques and several operatives on site.’

A DISAB truck’s power can work both ways, the blowing as well as sucking capabilities make it incredibly versatile. United Utilities’ units were specially made for them by DISAB using stainless steel so that they can handle a range of toxic sludge and hazardous liquids.

DISAB’s service and parts centre in Irlam, Manchester, provides the necessary backup to allow United Utilities to keep their trucks available 24h a day, seven days a week.

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