The sewer was estimated to be 4 metres below ground level. When the client manually excavated down to 800mm it quickly discovered a myriad of existing utilities.
At this point the client insisted on the use of non-invasive suction excavator technology to eliminate the risk of service strikes and damages to the existing infrastructure.
UK-based Suction Excavator Solutions (SES) provides an alternative safe digging method to mechanical and manual excavation techniques. This method has been proven to help save millions of pounds across the UK.
SES provided a full consultation service and site survey before the work was carried out. This ensured the best possible solution to the task providing maximum safety and minimum disruption to the general public. This was imperative as the section of the sewer that needed to be exposed was directly outside the Civic Hall and Cathedral where weddings and council meetings were taking place.
SES suction excavators use the latest TT-UK/RSP DV fan technology, which exhibits optimal performance characteristics, excellent running capacities and incorporates many health and safety benefits. The fan assembly has an air outlet silencer, which is designed to lower the working frequencies to ensure minimal noise and effect on the environment.
Once the start date was confirmed SES dispatched a suction excavator and operating team to carry out the work. All the SES team of operators hold EUSR/CSCS cards, SHEA Gas and Water Hygiene accreditations as a minimum. The members also attend TT-UK/RSP’s specialist suction excavator training courses which are held periodically.
All work permits, rick assessments and method statements were completed and agreed with the client before the works commenced.
SES mobilised one of its ESE 26/8 suction excavators fully equipped with non-conductive air tooling, accessories and extension pipes to cope with the estimated 4m depth of the sewer.
Once on site, the suction excavator moved into position to allow traffic to continuously flow. All traffic management, lighting and guarding was supplied and put in place.
The suction excavation team used compressed air tooling to loosen the ground and rapidly remove all the material around the existing utilities such as gas, water, electric, British Telecom, fibre optic and cable TV. Many unknown services were also found and located safely, which were not present on any drawings or plans. The company did not incur any damage to the utilities or services while employing the suction excavation technique.
TT-UK/RSP Suction excavators are designed and manufactured using special suction fans that create the negative pressure and air flow to transport material. The suction fans are driven via an engine driven power take off (PTO). The fans are capable of creating an airflow of up to 44,000m³/h, maximum vacuum of 55,000Pa. This air flow enables the operator to suck all kinds of materials liquid or solid up to 250mm in diameter through the air intake suction nozzle.
The excavation was reduced and shuttering was put into place to maintain a safe working environment at all times.
The team continued to excavate down to 3.2m where it exposed the collapsed clay-lined sewer. It was then apparent how fragile the sewer was as even hand-digging could have caused further damage. All connection pieces were exposed for inspection and repair.
All the material removed from the excavation travelled in the airflow through the extension pipes into the 8m3 container/tipping body. Once full, the container was tipped directly into low-level skips ready for disposal and removal from site. This allowed the suction excavator to remain onsite at all times, ensuring continuous working maintaining excellent productivity.
SES managed the project safely, on time and within budget, much to the client’s satisfaction. SES has since returned to carry out similar tasks for the same client and continues to receive positive feedback.
Focus on the company
Suction Excavator Solutions (SES) provides safe, effective and trenchless techniques for all kinds of projects across many different sectors. Since the company’s formation it has grown to be a successful nationwide provider both on large- and small-scale utilities, construction and specialist applications.
Gone are the days that suction excavators are used solely for utility works. The technology is evolving and rapidly growing. SES is continually shifting and adapting to its clients’ needs. The company often provides on-site consultation and problem-solving solutions.
SES has recruited and retained highly skilled and experienced operators who play a supportive team role and provide tailored solutions and the highest level of customer satisfaction.
The company has a rapidly evolving fleet to meet the elevated demand for trenchless suction excavation.
Image 002 - Midpoint of excavation
Image 169 - Services exposed at 800mm
Image 172 - All services are secured to prevent any movement or damages
Image 0766 - Another sewer being exposed for repair and cleaning to minimise the use of open cut methods on a different job
Image 0767 - Rear view of suction excavator showing extension arm and pipework removing material from deep excavation on a different job
Image 001 – Extension pipes removing material around sewer at 3.2m. Shoring, trench sheets and bracing struts in place to protect the workforce
For more information: www.suctionexcavatorsolutions.co.uk
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*This is an edited version of an article produced by Trenchless World Magazine
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