New drainage truck helping clear backlog

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A new jet/vac truck is helping the Warrnambool City Council clear a significant drainage maintenance backlog, while allowing staff to quickly respond to blockages in the event of heavy rain.

The vehicle is equipped with a high-pressure water hose that breaks up debris up to 100m along the drainage pipe, while a second hose acts as a vacuum, sucking the material into the truck.

In its first few months of operation, Council’s drainage team is averaging 18 cubic metres, or 25 tonnes of debris cleared from the stormwater system each month.

In previous years, drains were cleaned by hand. In more recent times, Council would employ a contractor to use a jet/vac truck.

Warrnambool City Council CEO Peter Schneider said that the new truck was a great investment in the city’s drainage system.

“We no longer need to hire contractors to clean our drainage pits and stormwater pipes, so this truck will well and truly pay for itself over its lifespan,” he said.

“Without the need to rely on contractors, if we receive a report of a blocked drain, our staff can respond much more quickly. And in the event of a flood, we are not reliant on the availability of an external company.

“Now that the truck is up and running, our staff are working hard to clear the maintenance backlog that has built up over time, and I’d like to thank our drainage team on their continued efforts.

“Depending on the type of drain, the team are now cleaning 50 to 60 drains a week. Back when things were done by hand, one drain could take all day.”

After debris is sucked into the truck, it is taken to the municipal depot where it is drained, sorted, sifted and where possible, recycled.

“With the amount of rubbish in the drains, just being able to get that out of our storm water system and dispose of it properly, that’s a very important environmental aspect that helps to protect our oceans,” Mr Schneider said.

“On top of that, we have the equipment to separate the organic material, compost it and then use it as clean fill on various other projects.

“The truck uses rainwater collected and stored at the depot, so no town water needs to be used either.”

In August 2020 Council awarded a $511,000 tender for the Hino truck and Spout Vac body.