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Grout and about

Look inside Nisky's grout truck offers insight into sewer maintenance

Niskayuna officials purchased a grout truck as a cost effective solution to repairing the sewer pipes throughout the town.

Niskayuna officials purchased a grout truck as a cost effective solution to repairing the sewer pipes throughout the town. Photo by John Purcell.

— Stepping inside Niskayuna's grout truck reveals a myriad of technology and equipment, which the town is using to repair older sewer pipes.

The grout truck used by Niskayuna's Water and Sewer Maintenance workers looks plain enough on the outside, but the modern technology inside reveals a mobile command center to address the inflow and infiltration issues the town faces. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is currently working with town officials on revisions to the formal plan addressing those issues, and purchasing the grout truck was the town's solution to the problem, something it found more cost-effective than ripping up and installing new sewer pipes.

The amount of money it would cost to (replace all the pipes), the town couldn't even afford it, said Matthew Yetto, senior civil engineer for the town. "It is not necessary either because it is structurally sound pipe, it is just leaky joints."

The truck, which was purchased in 2007 and received in 2008, cost the town approximately $450,000.

How it works

Before the grout tuck even gets into the pipes, a combination vacuum and jetter truck is used to clean and prepare the pipes for repairs. High-pressure water is blasted down the pipe and the vacuum sucks up any debris and deposits removed from the pipe. The truck is also used for regular sewer maintenance, which the older clay pipes require more of compared to the newer plastic pipes.

There is also a monitor on the front of the truck allowing workers to see how the cleaning is going from a camera attached to the equipment inside the pipe.

"For the last three years or so we have had this [monitor] on the front. They just blindly washed before, so you didn't know how effective you were being with your cleaning or if it was actually necessary," said Yetto.

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