Scottish Water’s Highland region recently took delivery of four new 7.5t RioCom jet vac combination units to operate as part of its Sewer Response Team fleet.
The new vehicles will be used to undertake work in a single visit, where previously a jetting van and a vactor would have been required. Three of the units will serve remote areas of the Highlands while the other will be based in Orkney.
“We cover a large geographical area and the new units will allow us to work more efficiently,” explains Tammy Jones, Scottish Water’s Sewer Response Team Leader for the Inverness area
“Whereas before we needed to rely on the availability of a 25t tanker to perform suction work, the new units will be able to carry out both jetting and suction work with a single visit.
“It’s a really good bit of kit and will enable the team to do more and provide better customer service.”
The 7.5t RioCom was developed as an emission compliant solution that converts power from the turbocharged, direct-injection engine to operate the jetting and vacuum pumps.
The unit offers pump performance similar to much larger tankers with a Jurop PNR82 pump with a suction capacity of 1800 gpm and a high-pressure pump with a capacity of 2200 psi @ 22 gpm.
Standard features such as secure roller-shutter storage space and an inverter for operating ancillary equipment, such as CCTV cameras, have been further enhanced for the project. Powerful exterior LED lights along both sides of the vehicle can be switched independently to highlight the working area. The heated compartment for drying work gear and washbasin should also make life easier for the team.
The project has been two years in the planning and Scottish Water’s input was one of the driving forces behind the design of the RioCom, which was launched in the UK in 2019. Working closely with Rioned’s Glasgow-based agent Scotjet the project has progressed from the drawing board to handover.
Whilst single resolution vehicles are nothing new to the drainage industry, smaller, lightweight jet vac combi units are becoming a more common sight in remote locations, city centres or areas with restricted access that a larger vacuum tanker would have difficulty accessing.
David Gordon, Director of Scotjet, says the firm’s 20-year relationship with Scottish Water was key in bringing the project to fruition: “They’ve had a UniCom 7.5t combi on hire for the past few years and understand the capabilities. These combis were specifically designed for them by Rioned and it’s always been about developing a single resolution vehicle.
“These units are ideal for use in this region because of the size, specification and ease of maintenance. They are very similar in length to the Sprinter vans currently used by the team.”
Kenneth Kentley, Fleet Specification Engineer for Scottish Water, has overseen the delivery of the project and believes the new units will make a big difference.
“It’s a test case for the company and the result of a case for change that is outside our normal replacement cycle,” he said. “The RioCom’s offer so many more options in a single unit and will help massively in our ability to deliver for our customers.”
He added: “As a company, we’re very much focused on the environment and our vehicles are the public face of that – by reducing the number and size of vehicles having to attend incidents in this area, these new units will also help us reduce our carbon impact.”