Thank God We Have a Long Hose
By Stephen Thomson
Senior Manager, Post Construction Compliance
The Carrington Place Apartments, opened in 2015, are situated off FM 1960 near Highway 290, a short distance from Cypress and Jersey’s Village. With 100’s of tenants in 15 apartment buildings, as well as an abundance of manicured lawns and plenty of tree cover, Carrington Place’s stormwater inlets are under a constant seize of trash, dirt and organic debris. While stormwater inlet treatment and filtration BMPs are typically designed to continue to work well even when partially inundated with trash and debris, they are never as effective as they are when kept cleaned regularly. With summer coming, it was time for The Carrington Place Apartments to have their Stormwater Quality Management Features repermitted. The process of SWQM repermitting includes an inspection of all stormwater features on a given property. In their case, this inspection process revealed that their system needed a clean out before a new permit could be issued.
With most SWQM system clean outs, a vacuum truck typically drives up to the stormwater feature that needs to be cleaned out, a hose is dropped in and debris is vacuumed out. However, in this instance, The Carrington Place Apartments layout did not offer any possible truck access to a feature located behind one of the buildings. The typical vacuum truck is slightly larger than the garbage trucks we see hoisting up residential trash cans and therefore requires far more than a walkway to drive on. In addition, behind the building is the apartment’s property border which is lined with a tall metal fence which a vacuum hose could neither go over, through or under. As manually cleaning the type of SWQM feature that was behind this building would be fairly impractical, Construction EcoServices needed to devise an unusual solution to an unusual problem.
The solution might well be a world record for the longest vacuum hose used to clean out a SWMQ feature this side of the Mississippi. The main concern of this solution was whether the truck’s vacuum system could produce the amount of suction it would take to not only get the debris to travel the many yards to the truck, but to also have the power to initially suction the debris up out of the 10 feet deep maintenance hole. In the end, it took over 160 feet of flex hose to reach from the truck to the bottom of the SWQM feature. But that was not the only difficult part of this particular clean out project, this feature also contained over 13,000 gallons of water that had to be removed first before the unit could be adequately cleaned. However, instead of a challenge, Construction EcoServices saw this as an opportunity to reduce the costs for the client. While most other companies would have simply removed all the water, Construction EcoServices installed plugs into the unit and decanted the water to save the client money.
With the property’s stormwater quality features cleaned out and back to peak operating condition, The Carrington Place Apartments was able to successfully renew their Storm Water Quality permit with Harris County.
- The Carrington Place Apartments layout did not offer any possible truck access to a feature located behind one of the buildings
- The apartment’s property border which is lined with a tall metal fence which a vacuum hose could neither go over, through or under
- Manually cleaning the type of SWQM feature that was behind this building would be fairly impractical
- Over 160 feet of flex hose to reach from the truck to the bottom of the SWQM feature
- Installed plugs into the unit and decanted the water