January 2021 Vol. 76 No. 1

Rehab Technology

Tier 3 Nozzles Optimize Sewer Crew Efficiency, Profitability

By Del Williams, Technical Writer

In sewer, storm and sanitary line cleaning, hose nozzles are essential tools that direct pressurized water to clear out obstructions such as silt, sludge, grease, mineral buildup and tree roots, as part of required maintenance or to prepare pipes for re-lining. In this way, the nozzle is like a gun and water-like bullets that must be precisely directed with force to the target. 

While there are many nozzle options available in a variety of configurations, standard Tier 2 nozzles that typically are supplied with the purchase of a sewer truck are only rated as 50- to 60-percent efficient. Although these nozzles can handle some blockages, sewer crews often opt for the highest-performance nozzles to make short work of even the most challenging jobs. 

The benefits of such nozzles go far beyond conserving water to protect the environment. Reducing water use also minimizes crews’ trips to refill the sewer truck water tank, expediting work completion. By also decreasing unnecessary travel, the approach reduces the cost of vehicle fuel and maintenance, further boosting profitability. 

Optimizing efficiency 

As is known throughout the industry, nozzles are rated for water efficiency, from Tier 1 (about 30-percent efficient), Tier 2 (50- to 60-percent efficient), to Tier 3 (75- to 98- percent efficient). 

Although they cost less, low-efficiency Tier 1 nozzles tend to utilize only 30 percent of the available energy, wasting 70 percent due to excessive turbulence or otherwise lacking the necessary precision to clear obstructions. Tier 2 nozzles are more efficient, but still not adequate to tackle tougher jobs or perform with anywhere near the efficiency offered by more sophisticated units. 

The most-effective Tier 3 nozzles have tight water patterns that efficiently clean the pipe wall and create a powerful water stream to move debris long distances and propel the nozzle. Crucially, these nozzles provide effective fluid mechanics to prevent the wasteful use of water (GPM) and operating pressure (PSI). 

However, even within the Tier 3 category there are significant differences in levels of efficiency. Opting for the lower-end Tier 3 nozzle, with 75-percent efficiency, could still lead to additional trips to refill. Also, such units may not remove restrictive sewer buildup or blockage in a timely manner. 

Consequently, to proactively improve operations, sewer truck/accessory dealers and contractors are turning to the most-efficient Tier 3 nozzles. These enable sewer maintenance work crews to clean better and faster, while conserving water and achieving dramatically more between each water tank refill. 

This approach also substantially reduces labor and machine hours to clean lines, along with equipment wear and tear, and can save approximately 9 to 17 percent in vehicle fuel costs, including travel to refill water tanks and run equipment. 

“Today, operators want to conserve water use to be more productive with their trucks and work crews. Water is an important natural resource, and usually drinking water is used,” said Matthew Woods, vice president of sales and marketing at Haaker Equipment. 

A dealer of sewer cleaners, pipe inspection equipment and parking lot sweepers for the contractor, municipal and industrial sectors in California, Nevada and Arizona, Haaker Equipment frequently recommends Tier 3 nozzles from KEG Technologies, Woods added. Of course, the dealer also carries nozzles of various tiers from other manufacturers. 

Spartanburg, S.C.-based KEG Technologies manufactures sewer and storm lines products, including Tier 1 to Tier 3 nozzles, chain cutters, floor cleaners and camera nozzle systems, and is a member of NASSCO. The company’s Tier 3 nozzles, such as Aqua Power 700 and OMG, provide up to 98-percent efficiency. 

Operation savings 

According to Woods, refilling the sewer truck tank with water can take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the hydrant location. 

“Typically, the highest operating cost over the life of the vehicle isn’t the truck or the nozzle, it’s the operator’s labor. And that is saved tremendously by using an ultra-efficient Tier 3 nozzle,” he added. 

“If an operator can avoid two water tank fill cycles a day by using the most efficient nozzles, that can save an hour a day, 20 hours a month and 140 hours annually – a great boost to productivity.” 

The difference between using a Tier 2 nozzle and a top Tier 3 nozzle, he explained, can be cleaning 30-percent to virtually 50-percent more sewer line, respectively, with the same amount of water, as well as vehicle fuel and wear-and-tear savings. 

While municipal water is usually free locally, water use charges are a factor when contractors use water from a county line. 

What sets the most-efficient Tier 3 nozzles apart from others in the category is fluid mechanics engineering on-par with the aerodynamics of race cars or jet fighters. 

For example, the high-performance fluid mechanics design of KEG’s Tier 3 nozzles, leaves little room for power losses and excessive turbulence. After exiting the jetter hose, water travels into the body of the nozzle before moving through smooth, curved channels. This enables the water to maintain its power and speed before entering the nozzle’s replaceable titanium ceramic inserts. Next, the water is funneled from a short, conical shape to a larger, longer cylindrical shape, allowing a tight water pattern to emerge. 

The internal workings of the nozzle, including the way the water gets turned, redirects the energy of the high-pressure water entering the nozzle as efficiently as possible. This results in what’s needed for the task: more thrust and power using less water. 

“There is tremendous force and pressure created in a Tier 3 nozzle. It is often what is needed to get the most out of the Vactor sewer trucks we represent,” said Woods. 

While not insisting such a Tier 3 nozzle is necessary for every job, he does recommend it as an essential tool for the sewer crew’s toolbox. 

Matching vacs, nozzles 

Troy Whitton is a parts and service sales specialist at Vimar Equipment, a British Columbia (Canada)-based dealer of sewer and street vehicles and equipment for the contractor and municipal markets. A dealer for 20 years and the startup demonstration trainer for the equipment Vimar sells, including Vactor sewer trucks, Whitton also recommends highly efficient Tier 3 nozzles. 

“With the KEG design, operators get the … most power to clean the pipe and pull the hose. Because it is so efficient, operators typically achieve more than they ever could before with a lot less water,” said Whitton. 

He also emphasized that it’s important for dealers to educate contractors and municipal mangers and help them understand how they can achieve the greatest value with their equipment. That includes using the highest-quality nozzle on the hose to get the cleaning job done safely, quickly and efficiently – especially on the most-difficult challenges. 

“Selling the best nozzle for the job goes hand-in-hand with selling vacs because the nozzles do the work. The nozzles are essentially the ‘tip of the spear,’ so you need the right nozzle for the job,” added Whitton. 

While he acknowledges that lesser nozzles may cost less at first, such units ultimately end up costing considerably more. 

“Compared to a Tier 2 nozzle, a high-efficiency Tier 3 nozzle will cost a little more initially but can pay off rather quickly because you can get the job done in much less time,” he concluded. 

While dealers, contractors, and municipal supervisors have long accepted the status quo in sewer, storm and sanitary line cleaning, better approaches now exist in the form of ultra-efficient Tier 3 water conserving nozzles. Ultimately, they help to cost effectively boost both service ratings and profitability. • 



Vactor Manufacturing, (815) 672-3171, vactor.com 

KEG Technologies, (866) 595-0515, kegtechnologies.net 

Haaker Equipment, (602) 266-8214, haaker.com 

Vimar Equipment, (604) 430-4274, vimarequipment.com 

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