HDD Culvert Cleaning Proves Effective

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | March 2010 Vol. 65 No. 3

A box structure cleaning tool is used for removing large volumes of material. When cleaning is completed, spoil removed is spread over the job site area or loaded and trucked away, depending on individual job requirements.

"We have developed more than 290 varieties of cleaning tools," says Harr "Some soils need water to help remove debris from the drainage structure. But there are jobs where use of water is prohibited, and our system can work without water which keeps the site cleaner and limits cross contamination during rehabilitation. Of course, jetters use water for cleaning and cannot be used in such situations."

Most culverts in the United States are 24 to 36 inches in diameter, Harr said.

"Lengths," he continues, "range from typical 40 foot road crossings to four lane highways which are 200 feet. In good weather, a 36 inch diameter culvert, 40-foot long can be cleaned in about 40 minutes. However, we have completed several jobs that were 2,500 feet long."

Market need
Harr believes there is a great, largely untapped need for the culvert cleaning system. Compared to conventional cleaning methods, Harr said one of the greatest benefits of using the system is the reduction of costs relating to construction of detours, traffic control, restoration of job sites when construction is complete, especially in environmentally sensitive areas, and permitting.

An agreement has been reached with the Robbins Company to manufacture Harr downhole tools and sell the products in Alaska, Harr says. Previously Vermeer distributors sold the products which helped the cleaning process gain exposure and recognition as a viable alternative to convention culvert cleaning procedures.

In other areas, qualified contractors may apply for a license to use the Harr system and purchase downhole tools from authorized distributors.

Harr says culvert cleaning with the Harr system is not suited for every contractor.

"We recognize that only qualified contractors with the proper training should undertake culvert cleaning services with the Harr system," he explains. "The licensing requirement assures project owners the contractor is qualified to perform the work. In other markets, improper use of HDD technology has had a negative impact on the technology, and we want to avoid that."