Massive Hurricane Cleanup puts High-Performance Vacall AllJetVac and AllVac Machines to Work

Profile 05 : Long Beach Island, New Jersey

Long Beach Island, an 18-mile barrier island along the coast of New Jersey, experienced some of that state's greatest damage and most extensive cleanup headaches as a result of the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy in late October 2012.

Home to 20,000 people year-round, the summer population swells to about 150,000, drawn by the beach and attractive vacation properties, many valued at millions of dollars. In addition to knocking out utilities and creating widespread wind damage, Hurricane Sandy's nine-foot storm surge filled storm drains and sanitary sewer lines with sand and mud.

The hardest-hit area, however, was in the community of Holgate at the southern tip of the island. The first floors of many beach homes had been designed to break away in a major storm surge, and did just that, leaving behind four or more feet of sand and debris.

The Vacall versatility advantage
AllVac Industrial Vacuum Trucks are used to reopen storm drains and the sanitary sewer system.

The first step in restoring residents' access to their properties involved using bulldozers and front end loaders to clear several feet of sand from streets, and remove dangerously downed power lines, trees and debris while National Guard troops protected properties from looting.

After that, a priority was to restore vital services and to reopen the storm drains and sanitary sewer system. Haas Environmental Inc. of South Hampton, N.J., rented several Vacall machines from VSI Vacuum Sales, Inc., in Lindenwold to expedite the cleanup.

Patrick Dauria, division manager for Haas, said his crews used AllJetVac models to remove sand and mud that the storm surge forced into storm drains and one sanitary sewer, filling them completely up and over the drain covers.

"We used the Vacall's pressure washer feature around the top of the basin so that we could pull off the top and go down and clean out the sand and mud," said Dauria. Using a combination of high-pressure jetting action and superior vacuum forces, crews were able to efficiently clear debris from three drains at each intersection, completing work on three to four streets a day.

The AllJetVac Combination Catch Basin Cleaner requires just one operator

"When we clean out the Vacall storage tank, the pressure washing system is also great because, in a matter of minutes, it washes out the sand and water that sticks to the bottom of the tank," he added. "The cleanout takes a lot longer with other kinds of combination units, so we can put the Vacall machine back to work faster."

Another Vacall advantage, he said, was that the AllJetVac requires just one operator. "Other combination units require two men, but the Vacall is more efficient because it needs only one," he said. "We send two men anyway, but one of them can be used for safety, directing traffic around the work."

In Holgate, after the waters receded, homes and vehicles were awash in several feet of sand. Homeowners acted quickly to hire companies like Haas Environmental to remove primarily sand, but also other materials that had, in some cases, filled the entire ground levels of luxury beach homes.

AllVac industrial vacuum machines are used to clear sand and debris from homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy

Haas crews used Vacall AllVac high-performance industrial vacuum machines to clear sand and debris from homes, after first removing drywall to gain access to rooms and also to extract sand that had been caked within the walls.

"The AllVac has very good vacuum forces so we can move about any type of debris," said Dauria. "We can use either a 6-or 8-inch hose, and about 97% of what we’re removing is sand. But we can also remove chunks of concrete from the parking lot, rocks, wood and other materials."

If he wasn't using an industrial vacuum unit, he said, his other option would be to put men and shovels to work — a process that would take a lot longer.

AllVac industrial vacuum machines remove sand from homes, as well as chunks of concrete, wood, rocks and other materials

Vacall vacuum forces, he said, are exceptional. "If you don’t know what you’re doing, they can be dangerous, so we make sure all our men are trained. If you are properly trained, the vacuum forces can help you work very, very efficiently."

"With a control pendant, the Vacall's vacuum forces let our men work very productively, pulling out a lot of sand and material when it's needed," Dauria added. "But the operator also can use less power when necessary so that we don't cause unnecessary damage to the contents of the home."

Learn more about Vacall AllSweep street sweeping units. For a demo, call 330-339-2211. Vacall products are designed, manufactured and supported by Gradall Industries, Inc., a world leader in pioneering hydraulic technologies.

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