Potable Water Line Diagnosis and Jetting

Problem: This drinking water line under a dirt road was struck and broken when somebody (not us) did not dig safely for the electrical. Two months later houses in the neighborhood weren't getting their water.

Solution part I: We first inspected the 3" line with our Drinking Water Camera. What we found was a line half full of heavy gravel that couldn't be flushed from the hydrants. The camera pinpointed the low spot in the line where most of the material had collected.

Solution part II: SFVE daylighted the line at the problem spot, digging with the vacuum to make a safe working area. Then we used sanitized equipment and water to jet 1,000 feet in both directions from that spot, pulling the material out of the line. As the water and gravel flowed out into the pit, we vacuumed it up. The Drinking Water Camera then verified that the lines were clear, and the vacuum maintained the work area while the repairs to the potable water line were done.

Water Line Condition Assessment: Under Pressure

Problem: This is a water main like many in rural New Mexico: made of steel and over 50 years old! The condition and position of a line this age is unknown. That makes it difficult for the Water Dept. of the local community to maintain and repair it.

Solution: Solution: The owners of the utility installed a simple 2” tap in the main (where they had to dig it up to replace a very old valve). Santa Fe Vacuum used this tap to inspect the line with our Drinking Water Camera in three directions as it was in service and under pressure. Within 3 hours, the utility owners had information about their line that had never been known before, including:

  • The depth and position of over 500 ft. of water main from the 2” tap
  • Video proof of two valves exercised and sealed
  • Audio proof that the high-pressure fittings are not leaking after the valve replacement
  • Which section of line was tuberculated and possibly needs to be replaced
  • Which section of line is a high spot where air pockets form

That is a whole lot of valuable information to get in one morning about a line installed in the 1960’s. The video record of this survey will assist the utility owners for years to come as they maintain their system.

Leachate Line Troubleshooting at Roswell Municipal Landfill

Problem: A basketball found its way 115 ft down a leachate line at the landfill. Nobody could figure out a way to retrieve it.

Solution: Solution: SFVE modified a pneumatic claw to grab and puncture the basketball. We sent both the claw and our SeeSnake sewer camera down the line on a PVC straw. When we reached the ball at 112 ft, we maneuvered it using the camera and the claw closed securely onto it. Then we pulled it right out! This approach solved the problem and did not require any excavation or modification of the leachate line.

Utility Substation Pole Hole

Problem: Client had the need for a hole 6’ deep and 18” wide in order to place a pole. This was a problem because it was inside of a concrete walled electrical substation, with lots of high voltage lines branching in every direction underground.

Solution: We used an air truck to dig the hole and a barrel interceptor so that the dirt taken out of the hole stayed close at hand, and could be used for backfill once the pole was in place.

Waste Water Treatment Plant

Problem: A Waste Water Treatment Plant had a problem with drainage. Their denitrification chambers needed to be cleaned, but they couldn't drain or pump the sand out of the chambers before cleaning.

Solution: We used our large vacuum truck to remove the sand. Then we drained off the water to a nearby manhole in order to maximize our efficiency during the job.

Flooded Mine

Problem: At a city Solid Waste Management location, they were attempting to drill and then blow up a rock shelf. It rained and filled all of their drill holes with water. In order to continue using their dynamite, they needed to dry out the holes. All of the holes were around 30' deep and 4" wide.

Solution: We used a vacuum truck with a really long 3" hose and a forklift.

Paseo del Norte Sewer Line Tie-In

Problem: A contractor had a hole 30' deep and 6' wide, and approximately 1' above a 24" sewer main that they needed to tie into. They could not safely get the dirt out from around the pipe and out of the hole.

Solution: We threw a long 6” vacuum hose down the hole and had TLC shovel into the vacuum. The vacuum carried the dirt out of the hole and provided sufficient air flow for the laborers in the hole.

The Towers - Elevator

Problem: A company needed to replace the elevator jack because it was leaking oil faster than they could replace it. The jack went into the ground 45'. They needed to take that jack out and put a new one in, and remove all of the dirt that encased the old jack.

Solution: We ran a 4” vacuum hose through the building to the elevator, and we set up a barrel interceptor so that it was easy to get rid of the oil contaminated dirt. Then we hung a 4” hose from the ceiling and ran an airlance to break up the compacted material and vacuumed it out.

Finding that sewer line again

Problem: Kiewit Construction had to drill in 6’ wide by 60’ deep concrete pillars, to support a road off-ramp. There was a possible sewer line in the way. Before they could drill, they had to locate the sewer line, which was believed to be at least 30’ deep.

Solution: First, we verified that the first ten feet had no utilities. We hit an old road bed, but proved that there was nothing in the way, so we had Kiewit bring in an excavator and dig a pit for us to work in. This made it easier to dig because we were closer to the sewer line. Then we vacuumed it out and verified the sewer line’s location. Then on May 21st, Kiewit lost the location of the line. We were called back to probe the ground with a 40’ water lance to re-verify the line’s location.

Historic Roof Insulation

Problem: Temperatures dropped in Santa Fe, and a line in the roof of a historic building froze and broke, and soaked the recycled newspaper insulation that was in the ceiling. This created a mold problem. They couldn't tear the ceiling down in order to remove the insulation due to the building's historic status.

Solution: We climbed up into the 2' wide ceiling cavity and vacuumed out the insulation. Then we hauled away the insulation and disposed of it.

La Fonda Elevator

Problem: The elevator in the La Fonda Hotel had been deemed unsafe for operation because the jack was rotted out from groundwater. They needed to remove the jack and install a new one, but could not remove the backfilled dirt, and they were not allowed to block their main entrance during construction.

Solution: Since we couldn't go through the front, we went through the back. We ran 600ft of air hose and vacuum hose to reach the elevator. We used barrel interceptors because of the contaminated oil and dirt. Then we hauled the barrels out with a tractor. On May 20th, when they installed the new jack, they couldn't get it straight because the groundwater pushed dirt back up into the hole. Our solution was to airlance it in order to shake the dirt out of the way.

Under a House

Problem: Client had to install two drip irrigation lines in order to drain their cistern onto their garden to comply with the Santa Fe City building code. However, the client did not own the land in front of their garage. So the only place they could install the line was underneath the house. It was too small of a job for a directional bore, and that would have been too costly.

Solution: We water probed underneath the house, jetted the hole wider, and then pulled the new pipes through.

Jetting a large culvert

Problem: In one location, the road kept washing away, and when a small construction company re-graded the road, they discovered a buried 6” culvert. It was completely plugged, and there were utilities running over it.

Solution: We jetted out the culvert.