Industry Vet Notes Vacuum Truck Improvements

Industry Vet Notes Vacuum Truck Improvements

Little changes make a huge difference in efficiency for Massachusetts pumper


Dick Mottolo has seen a lot of changes to vacuum trucks over the 43 years he's been in business with his company Service Pumping & Drain in North Reading, Massachusetts. But he says it's sometimes the small innovations that can have the biggest impact: improving efficiency, customer relations and safety - and they just make life easier.

One device he now has on all his vacuum trucks is a SeeLevel gauge from Garnet Instruments, which allows a driver to see how full the tank is.

"There's a digital gauge under the driver's seat facing the driver's door and he can see how many gallons are in the truck when he gets done at any particular pumping job," Mottolo says. This provides a way of showing customers exactly how many gallons the technician pumped, giving them proof as well as peace of mind that they're being charged accurately. He prefers the gauges to sight glasses, which he says are more difficult to deal with. "I wouldn't want to have a truck without one," he says of the SeeLevel.

Another problem Mottolo no longer has to deal with is frozen valves. Massachusetts winters can be brutal on trucks, and although he has a 15-bay garage to store his vehicles at night, he can't protect them out on the road.

"In the old days, during the winter we'd be out there with a torch unfreezing the valves between jobs," he says. Those days are gone with the invention of non-freeze valves. "It's kind of a water-jacketed fitting next to each valve. Basically you circulate the water from your cooling system of the truck." He says you wouldn't need them down south but it's definitely the way to go for anyone who can't afford to shut down for a few days when bad weather hits. No temperature is too cold, he says. "We've had very good luck with them.

"The SeeLevel gauges and non-freeze valves I think are huge," Mottolo says. "These things, although they don't sound like much, have been a big improvement on pump trucks."

Courtesy of Pumper Magazine Online Exclusive Dick Mottolo, President of Service Pumping and Drain Co. Inc., with part of the company fleet.

By Betty Dageforde
Pumper Magazine Online Exclusives
February 4, 2016

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