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Jet-Vac Systems appoints two new Business Development Managers

Jet-Vac welcomes two new Business Development Managers to the company to build on our recent success and thier experience and expertise will enhance our serivce to customers.

Craig Evans enjoyed a highly successful Management/Sales career within the service industry having worked for a variety of National and International companies at Regional and Area Manager level. For the last 6 years he worked in the Waste Water and Drainage industry for both National and Regional providers with direct responsibility for a variety of Framework Agreements across Wales.  His experience in waste water management will add to Jet-Vac's national service to our partners in the water and utilities sector.

Jonathan Carr has over 12 years’ senior commercial management experience in waste and recycling, working for some of the UK’s largest companies managing their national operations commercial performance and environmental compliance. His career began at one of Europe's largest recycling companies as a National Commercial Manager, and before joining Jet-Vac Systems had for several years been an environmental management consultant. His experience in waste management will add to Jet-Vac’s national service to our partners in waste management, anaerobic digestion, energy from waste and filter media exchange.



'Added Value' service for Anaerobic Digestion Plants

Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is definitely not a new technology; it has been widely used in theUKfor the treatment of sewage sludge for more than 100 years.  Currently some 66% of theUK’s sewage sludge is treated in AD plants.

However, generating renewable energy and diverting waste from landfill by utilising AD for the treatment of food waste and purpose-grown crops is a much more recent development and the market is expanding rapidly.  Between September 2011 and March 2013 the number of plants outside of the water industry has almost doubled to 106 in total.

AD is a natural process during which micro-organisms break down organic matter, in the absence of oxygen, into biogas and biofertiliser.  AD is used for industrial or domestic purposes to manage waste and/or to release energy.  The biogas can be used in a number of ways - directly in engines for Combined Heat and Power (CHP), burned to produce heat or cleaned to become biomethane, which is used in the same way as natural gas or as a vehicle fuel.  The leftover biofertiliser, which consists of indigestible material and dead micro-organisms, contains valuable plant nutrients like nitrogen and potassium and can therefore be used as renewable fertiliser or soil conditioner.

In the same way as sewage sludge digesters, these anaerobic digesters also require regular cleaning to increase retention time of biosolids in the vessel, reduce the fuel costs of heating the vessel and increase digestion and life of the sludge pumps.  Poor digester performance also causes low Solids Retention Time (SRT), making it difficult to meet stabilisation requirements or resulting in high odour biosolids. If a digester is not cleaned regularly, up to 50% of capacity can be lost to debris, plastics, grit and thick, inert sludge solids - and the yearly capacity loss accelerates very rapidly.

With more than 20 years’ of experience in sewage sludge digester cleaning and odour control filter media removal and replacement, Jet-Vac Systems is now combining these two core skills to provide an ‘added value’ anaerobic digester cleaning service for both new and existing customers. 

Fernbrook Bio AD plant

The projects can include both large and small scale single source and turnkey solutions, tailored to each customer’s individual requirements, as well as assistance with the planning of scheduled cleaning programmes to ensure that the plants continue to run at optimum capacity, providing maximum output.

During the cleaning process, sludges are removed from the digester via pump, DISAB vacuumation and confined space entry, and then screened in the dual separation screening unit.  The interior is cleaned with a water jet prior to handing the digester back to the customer.

The company also carries out media removal, replacement and disposal for a wide range of odour control units ranging from carbon to biological.  Their service partnership with Cabot Norit Carbon has provided them with extensive experience in carbon filters whilst also carrying out a range of projects on bio-filters containing media including cockle shells, bark and wood chips, as well as chemical scrubbers.

‘Including AD plants fuelled by food waste and purpose-grown crops to our service portfolio has been a natural progression for Jet-Vac.   We are looking forward to working with more of our existing and new customers, supporting them in the process of ensuring that their plants are operating at maximum capacity and therefore helping them maximise their profit’ says Geraint Jones, Commercial and Financial Director of Jet-Vac Systems.


The importance of good communication and a proactive approach

Service providers know how important it is to have a flexible and responsive approach to water, sewerage and waste projects, whilst maintaining clear communication with all parties and stakeholders.  This approach can be even more important for the successful execution of primary and secondary digester cleaning projects due to the frequently unpredictable nature of digester content.

The knowledge and skills that come with years of experience in digester cleaning enable Jet-Vac Systems to complete digester cleaning projects on time and on budget, with significant reductions in both carbon footprint and disposal costs through utilisation of their dual separation screening system. As either a first or second tier contractor, the company have successfully cleaned over 20 primary and secondary digesters over the last 18 months alone for customers including Thames Water, Yorkshire Water, Black & Veatch, ETM, GBM Alliance and Aecom.

During a recent primary digester cleaning project, the team again had the opportunity to prove the importance of the right approach.  A number of technical issues arose as the work progressed, that concerned both the nature and volume of the sludge and liquor, and also the manner in which the tank valves functioned.  By maintaining a flexible and responsive approach and clear communication with the client, our team was able to ensure that these issues were dealt with swiftly, minimising the cost and time impact.

Already well trained in Health & Safety awareness, endorsed by familiarity with the 'Loss Prevention System' operated a refinery where they have a permanent presence, Jet-Vac Systems welcomes the emphasis on behaviour-based safety that is currently being encouraged by many water authorities throughout the UK.

Vac truck and degritter

Second time around for JVS at Shanks Frog Island

After successfully removing and replacing the media in the first of three bio filters at the Shanks Frog Island Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facility in 2011, Jet-Vac Systems (JVS) was again subcontracted by OSIL to repeat the process on the second and third bio filters this Spring. 

Frog Island, on the River Thames at Rainham, is one of the two main London sites delivering Shanks’ contract with the East London Waste Authority, covering Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, and Havering.  The site includes an 180,000 tonnes per year Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facility and a 90,000 tonne per year Materials Recycling Facility (MRF), turning 50% of processed waste into refuse-derived fuel, whilst recovering metal and glass.

Shanks Frog Island

All three bio drying halls of the MBT facility are fitted out with individual bio filters, each consisting of 10 cells.  This bio-filter design provides for each cell to be equipped with fans and shut-off valves, enabling the bio drying hall to remain operational whilst work is being carried out, cell by cell. 

The individual cells each contain 120 m3 of bio-filter media, consisting of long-lasting, high performance matured coarse and medium grade woodchip.  The media initially installed has biodegraded over time and has therefore significantly compacted through degradation.

 JVS provided a comprehensive turnkey solution, managing and completing all aspects of the removal, remedial works, loading and disposal and through careful planning, disruption to both the very busy waste and MBT facilities were minimised at all times. Throughout the project, the team had to ensure that the MBT facility could operate at no less than 66% of its extraction capacity at all times. 

After approval of all method statements and risk assessments prepared by the JVS technical team, and the subsequent site inductions, the project commenced with the transfer of the heavier equipment to the roof by use of a mobile tower crane.  The hoses of two Disab vacuum loaders parked at ground level were then extended and safely secured to the side and the roof of the MBT facility.

Disabs at Frog Island

The spent media was carefully loosened and moved to the Disab vacuum nozzles before removal by vacuumation without damaging the plenum floor tiles underneath. 

Once most of the media was cleared from the plenum floor, the team used a pressure washer to clean between the apertures of the tiles.  The tiles themselves were then removed to enable vacuumation of the sludge that had collected on the plenum floor. When completely clean, the plenum floor was checked and the necessary remedial works carried out prior to reinstatement of the tiles and media. The replacement media were lifted to the roof by crane and the individual cells reloaded.

The spent media was tipped from the Disab units onto a loading bay, shovelled into an articulated waste trailer and then transported for suitable disposal, therefore limiting the amount of material held on site.

Frog Island Vacuumation


Case study: Viridor In Vessel Composting Facilities, Greater Manchester


After an initial introduction by TEG during the construction of the Rochdale In Vessel Composting (IVC) facility, Jet-Vac Systems have been supplying media exchange services to Viridor for well over two years.

Scope of project

Provision of regular media service exchanges on the odour abatement units at the Bredbury, Nash Road and Rochdale IVC plants. This includes:

  • Removal and bagging of carbon filter media
  • Transport of spent media for regeneration
  • Reloading of regenerated media

Challenges / Restrictions

  • Large volumes of media
  • Custom regeneration of existing material within tight deadlines
  • Work within Environment Agency remit

Key facts

  • Turnkey operations
  • Projects completed without Health and Safety or environmental incidents
  • Projects completed on time and in budget
  • Commendations received from the client

Customer reference

“Jet-Vac Systems always provide us with a flexible and reliable service, whilst consistently working within our site rules and RAMS.  We get excellent support from our technical sales advisor and I can definitely recommend their services.” – IVC Manager, Viridor

Additional information

Following the successful completion of the various media exchange projects, JVS is in the process of extending the services that they provide to Viridor to include cleaning of building fabric and replacement of pall rings from the chemical scrubber.

Similar projects

Over the last 12 months the company has also completed similar projects at Shanks Frog Island, Sterecycle, and United Utilities and Wessex Water.

Viridor IVC



Upgrading for Thames Water with Tamesis

Members of the Jet-Vac team are currently involved in two Thames Water upgrade projects on behalf of Tamesis, an Imtech Water, Waste and Energy and Laing O’Rourke integrated joint venture.

At the Crossness Sewage Treatment Works, 6 digesters will soon be adapted for use in the new Thermal Hydrolysis (Advanced Digestion) Project and Jet-Vac, in cooperation with Oran and Hare, are currently preparing the units for the refurbishment

Our technicians are using gravity feed and a pump to drain the sludge via our Fines Master screening unit to floor level, prior to it being processed and pumped back through the inlet works.  Once man ways have been installed we will take out the heavy grit and sludge, and when the derelict roof is cut out our technicians will remove the final 200 – 300 m3 of heavy grit and rag.

The digesters will then be ready for adaption to their new purpose – producing gas to feed the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant that in turn will generate electricity for both the plant on site and the National Grid.

 Thames Water Crossness digester cleaning

For the second upgrade project, at another London Sewage Treatment Works, our team is utilising a Disab and road tanker combination to clean out the first two of a number of aeration sludge plant lanes, removing sludge and vegetation, prior to the fitting of new diffusers.

Steve Barrett, Operations Manager for Tamesis commented that, ‘the Jet-Vac team is professional and efficient and has an excellent working relationship with both Tamesis and the other contractors on site, making the project run smoothly and on time.’


For more information on our specialist process plant cleaning services click here


RWE Npower Aberthaw Coal Power Station - A case study



Over the last three years Doosan Power Systems, principal engineering contractor, commissioned Jet-Vac Systems to complete the works associated with the turnkey outages of the three generating units at the RWE Npower Aberthaw coal power station.

Scope of project

Provide a comprehensive turnkey solution (manpower and equipment) for the completion of work associated with the outage of generating units 7, 8 and 9 which include:

  • Remove insulation and clean top dead space
  • Clean crossover decks and middle dead space
  • Debris removal and rear pass wash
  • Clean bottom dead space
  • Clean ash hopper
  • Mill de-balling and recharging

Technical challenge

  • Confined space entry working conditions for some aspects of the project
  • Stripping  out of only key areas in top dead space of insulation to allow access for specific engineering works
  • Delicate balance of unique flow and pump system for rear pass water wash

Restrictions / Considerations

  • Critical path project – 12 weeks with JVS providing first line of service, after scaffolding has been erected)
  • Integrated working plan with time restrictions to account for other activities in the area (over 22 contractors)
  • Comprehensive turnkey project with responsibility for all other third parties such as specialist rope access services required to complete the project
  • Hazardous environment, especially in burner arch, with confined space entry working for access and egress
  • Waste containment, dust suppression and safe transfer of non-dry material

Key facts

  • Definite works carried out in first 2 weeks involving 30 JVS technicians working 24/7 shifts
  • Project completed without accident or environmental incident
  • Project completed on time and within budget
  • Commendations received from the client

Customer reference

We have been working with JVS for a number of years and have always found them to be dependable and flexible in their approach.  They have excellent technical ability and provide a good all round turnkey solutions. - Doosan Power Systems, Prinicpal Engineering Contractors at RWE Npower Aberthaw

Additional information

Following the successful completion of the outage, the JVS team have been asked to assists Doosan Power Systems and RWE Npower with general GHK (Good House Keeping) work which include a variety of smaller vacuumation projects as well as a project on the biomass material feed system.

Similar projects

Over the last 12 months the company has also completed projects at Ratcliffe, Tetford, Ely, Tilbury, Uskmouth, Ironbridge

A quick response for Murphy Oil at Milford Haven

Our catalyst handling services team was recently put through their paces at Murphy Oil’s Milford Haven refinery.

Within 24 hours of receiving a phone call from the refinery requesting our services, the JVS team was on standby on site waiting for the Murphy Oil team to pump out spent catalyst from the cat cracker to a level below the man entry door.  Once this level was reached our JVS technicians were able to plate off the man entry door area and set up pipe work over the walkway to the intercepting vessel and our vac unit.  The team then worked  in shifts around the clock over 3 days to vac the spent catalyst from the cat cracker to the intercepting vessel, enabling the refinery to start processing again in record time.


Cutting the problem down to size at Yorkshire Water Caldervale WWTW

Over the last 30 weeks Jet-Vac Systems have been part of an Earth Tech Morrison project at the Yorkshire Water Caldervale waste water treatment works, taking care of the digester cleaning and screening operation which included work on storm and primary tanks as well as aeration lanes. 

 The JVS project started with an interesting predicament – the only suitable entrance to the site is through a 14 foot arched bridge whilst our screening units are over 16 feet high.  However, true to form, we found a proactive and flexible solution.

At our workshop our maintenance team cut down the side sheets and framework of the screening unit.  Once on site, they disconnected all the internal pipe work (which was still more than 14 feet high), moved the reduced height screening unit onto the site, and then moved the pipes through the entrance with a Hiab afterwards. 

Once on site, our fitter reconnected and sealed all the pipe work again so that our technicians could start the job.

 ‘We always work from the point of view that there are no problems, only solutions’, says Phil Slevin for the Jet-Vac Systems North West branch.

Screening unit with side sheets and framework cut down - Yorkshire Water Caldervale

Screening unit with side sheets and framework cut down



Aeration sludge plant lane cleaning for Thames Water

For Jet-Vac Systems, provider of single source and turnkey solutions for all aspects of industrial cleaning and waste management, July saw the start of the first of three two-week turnkey aeration sludge plant (ASP) lane cleaning projects at Thames Water’s Waste Water Treatment Works at Camberley, on behalf of GBM Alliance.

The project commenced with the removal of some large trees and other vegetation by technicians working from a metal cage suspended from a 58 meter main boom crane.  After the removal and recycling of three skip loads of wood and vegetation, the lane was drained down through a 6” pump.

The Jet-Vac technicians were then able to utilise a Disab mobile vacuum loader to remove all the sludge and blow it through a Fines Master screening unit, separating the content into rag and grit and returning the clean liquor.  It was then possible to recycle all the grit, whilst the rag was disposed of.  Prior to handing the lane back to GBM Alliance for the fitting of new internal pipe work, the floor was thoroughly cleaned and all the old plastic and metal pipe work was removed and recycled. 

As a company specialising in the cleaning of water and sewage process units, Jet-Vac was the first UK service provider to develop a dual separation system for the treatment of sewage sludge. The company has the ability to separate rag and debris down to 4 mm and grit down to 75 µ, and the cleaned liquor can then be returned on-site for reprocessing. The benefits of this system include reduced disposal costs and minimal transport requirement, helping to reduce customers' carbon footprints.  With seasoned turnkey project management experience, the team is also able to plan and oversee all aspects of a project like this, including crane hire and skips, as well as recycling.

Jet-Vac runs one of the largest fleets of Disab vacuum loaders in Europe. 

Thames Water before & after

Before and after tree and vegetation cleaning took place


Thames Water Camberley waste water treatment works contract

This week Jet-Vac Systems commenced a turnkey lane cleaning project on behalf of GMB Alliance at the Thames Water Camberley Waste Water Treatment Works.  

During the project our team will not only be carrying out some of our core waste water cleaning activities such as degritting and separating liquor, rag and grit, but will also be responsible for all other aspects including the utilisation of a crane for the removal of large trees, and the removal of several concrete plinths and all of the current pipe work.

Three individual lanes will be cleansed during three two week visits prior to handing the site back to GBM Alliance for the fitting of new internal pipe work.

The project once again enables us to provide our customers with an environmentally friendly solution to recycling waste.

Thames Water Camberley



Providing turnkey solutions on time and on budget

With specifications that can include anything from supplying equipment, vessel isolation, disposal, legislative paperwork, manway removal and comprehensive project management, completing a turnkey project on time, on budget and in line with specifications is no mean feat.  Having the technical and manpower capability to carry out turnkey solutions for a wide range of projects, either solely or in conjunction with a service partner, ensures that a company like Jet-Vac can bring these projects in on time, to specification and in budget.

Whilst working with one of their service partners, Norit Activated Carbon, Jet-Vac recently completed another successful odour control turnkey project at a number of Wessex Water sewage treatment works.  As turnkey service provider Jet-Vac not only supplied project management but also vacuumation and lifting equipment, access scaffolding and manpower.  As our technicians are trained in a wide variety of applicable disciplines, the need for other trade interface is minimized.  During the project 14m3 of activated carbon was removed and the vessels were recharged with Norit’s RST4 grade activated carbon, a non-impregnated carbon that eliminates hydrogen sulphide (H2S), volatile organic compounds (VOC), siloxanes and mercaptans. 

“Our account manager does not come to me with problems, he provides me with solutions. He brings issues to my attention and tells me what he is going to do about it and this is invaluable”, says Damien Connolly, UK and Ireland Regional Sales Manager for Norit Activated Carbon.

A Wessex Water Project Engineer commented that, “Turnkey projects can only be completed successfully if the service provider truly understands the customer’s requirements, communicates well and is reliable and flexible in their approach and that is exactly what Jet-Vac did for us.”

Jet-Vac Systems vehicle 22