This Vactor 2100i PD combination sewer cleaner just set a new standard for safety.
Savage, Minnesota has been named the Twin Cities fastest growing suburb, expanding from 4,000 to 30,000 residents in less than three decades.
Overseeing many of the challenges faced by a growing city is Cliff Yandle, Savage Utilities Foreman. “In this city we have two 55 mph, four-lane roads. Our sanitary sewer and utilities are in those busy lanes of traffic,” explained Yandle.
Yandle and his department oversee storm sewers, sanitary sewers and lift stations. They use a combination sewer-cleaner truck to jet and vacuum debris and ice clogging the system. “One sewer-cleaning unit has to serve all these systems and also deal with water main breaks,” said Mike Klimers, Utility Superintendent. “It’s a big job.”
A New Design
The City of Savage, Minnesota designed their new Vactor 2100i PD combination sewer cleaner with their operators in mind.
“When we built this truck, we didn’t design it according to a price tag or a package, we built this truck for what we actually need to do,” said Klimers.
City of Savage worked with MacQueen Equipment’s parts and service departments to install several aftermarket options. Klimers was adamant that every feature added to the truck serves an immediate purpose. “There’s no bells and whistles to this truck, everything we put on it we use every time we turn it on.”
Klimers supervises a team of 10 utility workers, and he started the design process by walking around the retiring 2009-era unit with each of them.
Here’s what his operators had to say:
- Drivers are not attentive. It’s a safety risk.
- It takes a long time to get the truck going.
- Getting pipes/tubing off the truck 6-10 times per day is fatiguing.
- The controls and tools are in the wrong locations on the truck.
- Right-side tank access makes it difficult to find parking and refill the tank on the go.
- Not enough automation in general
“We’ve had some close calls,” said Klimers. “People’s knowledge of what they’re supposed to yield for is limited. We want to make sure that our truck is highly visible so that our operators are highly visible.”
Yandle explained that drivers in Savage are inundated by vehicle lighting from road construction, emergency vehicles, garbage trucks and other sources.
“The amount of lighting that’s out there flashing on roads is causing people to be complacent. They just don’t see blinking lights anymore,” said Yandle.
So they selected a standard lighting package—and then they tripled it.
In the end, Savage added almost 20 extra lighting and safety features, including: flashing strobes on the front, sides and rear of the vehicle; extra-large, rear-mounted traffic advisor arrows; additional work lights and mounted flashlights; attention-grabbing light bars at traffic level; and 360° back-up camera coverage (see video below).
“The safer my operators feel on the road, the better they can serve the public. Adding extra lights is a very minimal cost compared to what could happen,” said Yandle.
With only one wastewater-dedicated vehicle, response time is key for the City of Savage. This was a challenge with their previous truck, which took time to start.
“When the old truck would sit overnight, it lost air pressure for the braking system, and any computers or electronics we had hooked up would draw down the battery,” said Klimers.
A solution to this problem was suggested by Savage operators who moonlight as firefighters in the community: shore power.
Shore power is standard operating procedure for fire stations, where trucks are connected to an electrical power source when the engine is turned off.
The MacQueen Equipment team called upon their fire and rescue division, MacQueen Emergency, to install shore power capabilities and an exterior air port to keep the brake system pressurized.
“Now, when we have an emergency, there is no downtime. Everything with auxiliary power remains online in a standby state,” said Klimers.
This includes Sonetics® headsets, cellphones, laptops and Streamlight® flashlights—all with permanent mounts and charging stations in the cab.
“Like a fire truck, it’s ready to go at a moment’s notice. We’re ready to go with 1,500 gallons of water, an empty debris body,” said Klimers.
In addition to hot-start features, the City of Savage also decided to upgrade the horsepower on their chassis.
“It’s important to match your chassis to your application. Our old truck was dependable but underpowered. With a full load of debris, we were barely able to maintain the minimum speed on the freeway. This go-around, I think we got the combination right. We can reach optimal speed and stay safe on the road. Not only to take care of our needs locally, but also for transporting waste and solids to the metropolitan dump station, which is over 30 miles away,” said Klimers.
Klimers supervises a crew of 10 utility workers. He said he typically assigns two staff experts to the truck, but everyone will have to learn to operate it.
The Vactor 2100i PD combination sewer cleaner was built with operators in mind—easy to operate and designed to cut down on unnecessary lifting and extra steps.
IntuiTouch Control System. Which puts all cleaning-system functions into a single, simple control panel.
Hydraulic Twist-and-Lock Pipe Rack Support System. Fold-down pipe rack cuts down on heavy lifting for operators.
Extra-Long Hose. 800 ft. vs. the standard 600 ft.
Positive Displacement (PD) Blower. Ideal for deep or long-distance material pulls.
Dual Tank Gravity Fill Ports. Fresh water fill stations on both the right and left sides for easy access.
The Next Generation of Sewer Cleaning.
“When I got hired on in 2005, we got a new jetter. I was the operator on the older piece, and that was a miserable job. I’m excited for our younger, newer employees because I know how it feels to use an outdated piece of equipment,” remembered Yandle.
The City Savage took delivery of the unit in late December, and with the help of MacQueen’s equipment trainers, they have gradually introduced each of the new features to their operators.
“When you’re in the concept phase and you can’t see it—that’s one thing. But when it’s delivered, you can really see the wisdom of what you put together,” said Klimers.
Overall, the Savage Vactor 2100i PD sets a new standard for safety and productivity, and MacQueen Equipment sales, parts, service and training teams were thrilled to collaborate on this build. Thank you to the City of Savage for allowing us to profile this best-in-class unit—and congratulations on your new truck.
Take a Tour!
Follow the map below to explore every feature of this truck.
- Federal Signal Valor Light Bar
- Additional Federal Signal MicroPulse® Ultra Lighting (Two color yellow/blue on front, sides and rear
- Federal Signal Latitude™ SignalMaster™ (rear/low mount)
- Federal Signal Commander® 750 and 1200 Series Work Lights
- Whelen Traffic Advisor™, Arrow Head Style
- Steamlight Waypoint® 300 Rechargeable Spotlight with charge mount in cab.
- RAM®No-Drill™ Universal Laptop Mount
- RAM®Cell Phone Mount.
- High-pressure hose reel on front bumper. (800-ft.)
- Hydraulic pipe racks—both sides.
- Cyclonic filter washout system.
- Pneumatic knife gates on rear decant valves
- Hydraulic dump valve on debris body
- Electric shore power quick connect
- Air port (maintains pressure).
- Tool mounts added to rodder hose reel.
- Fresh water tank fill ports (both sides).
- Four-camera backup system.
- Auto Lube system.
- Long-Handle Tool System
- Sonetics Headsets®
Make/Model: Vactor 2100i PD
Additional Water: 1,500 gal.
Debris Body: 12 yrd
Chassis: Kenworth T880
About MacQueen Group:
The MacQueen Group offers a mix of municipal, fire and safe dig equipment including street sweepers, sewer cleaners, refuse trucks, snow removal equipment, fire trucks, and vacuum excavators. MacQueen has ten locations in the upper Midwest with its headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. In addition to sales, MacQueen offers quality support by offering a large parts inventory, local service centers, mobile service capabilities, and specialized operator training.