Edmonton Contractor Sees the Green Benefits of New Technologies
From the day he started Sii360 –a sewer inspection and cleaning company located in Edmonton – Charles Malysh has always kept his eye on the latest technologies in the marketplace.
Formed in 2013, the company was born out of a family tragedy. Malysh, who has spent 30 years in the construction industry, was the leader of a major Edmonton contractor’s underground division working the water and sewer sector. His son Josh worked for the same company and was killed in a work place accident. Malysh tried to continue his role at the company but it proved too much.
“After I quit, I sat back and assessed things and thought about how I could make the industry better,” Malysh says. “That’s when I started looking at the best equipment I could buy and I went out to get it.”
Sii360, which works within about a 600 km radius of Edmonton, completed its first camera job in January 2014 and has quickly grown from one camera crew, running an IBAK Panoramo setup, and one flusher truck; to three IBAK Panoramo camera trucks and three flusher trucks. The latest addition to the company is a Bucher Municipal RECycler 315, a three-axle, 15 cubic yard water recycling combination sewer cleaner. The RECycler 315 was introduced to the North American market in 2012 by J. Hvidtved Larsen (now Bucher Municipal).
“In Western Canada when I started with the camera work, I was one of the first to have the IBAK Panoramo system. Using those cameras with this recycler, we are the first of this type in Canada. There are other recyclers but, to me, they don’t hold a candle to this one,” Malysh says. “If we are the first out of the gate, and the customer likes what we are doing, we are always going to have them as customers. They generally won’t leave if we are doing a good job as the first company [with the technology] when the second or third company comes down the road.”
The launch of the RECycler 315 in North America about coincides with Malysh beginning his research to start Sii360. And though he has had success with his two traditional combination sewer cleaners, he recalls knowing there was a better, more efficient, way to do business. His research, and several trips to the annual Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show (WWETT Show), led him to IBAK and eventually Bucher Municipal.
“I started doing research when I formed the company because I saw that we lose so much time with production when you drive to get water and then drive back and have to setup and take down each time,” Malysh says. “With this type of truck, you can stay in one location all day long as long as you are catching the liquids that are coming down the line. It also makes for a greener environment because I am not using potable water that can be used by the people.”
Why IBAK and Bucher Municipal products? If there is one thing Malysh learned in his time in the sewer and water construction industry, when looking for new technologies, it is important to look towards Europe first. “They have had sewers for 1,000 years, or more, whereas North America’s are maybe 300 years old. Europe has adapted to a better system and if you look at the sewer and water equipment they use, I would say North America is 15-20 years behind the technology coming out of Europe,” Malysh says.
After working closely with Bucher Municipal on financing options, the RECycler 315 joined the fleet in April. Malysh is already starting to see the improved production he envisioned. Up front he can see the increased productivity of his camera crews, which typically inspect behind the sewer cleaner. Normally there comes a time, at least once, in a day where the camera crew has to stop while the flusher truck goes to refill its water. “When the traditional combo unit has to leave to get more water, by the time the operator comes back it’s about 30 minutes, the camera crew is waiting for the flusher truck,” Malysh says.
Though there is an increased cost to operating the RECycler, Malysh’s customers have been receptive of the new technology and the eventual time and cost savings they will see. By Malysh’s estimation, the RECycler can do the same amount of work, on a large diameter trunk line project, as three trucks in the past. On those jobs he would typically run his flusher truck, add a water truck and a vacuum excavator to haul away the spoils.
Malysh estimates, based on the job, that with his traditional trucks he uses anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 gallons a day in potable water. That water is then flushed down the line and returned to the treatment plant. The cost of the use of that water and the treatment is passed on to the ratepayers.
He also points out that the increased productivity – in some cases a three-day job can be reduced to one – means that whoever is following his project, whether it’s a relining contractor, a road repair crew or another entity, they also see increased productivity as well. And in a region that has a small window for construction season, those saved days are key. There is also a benefit for the municipality, which can let its citizens know they are using more green technologies.
“To me one of the biggest things is that we are [more] green because I am not taking chlorinated water that people could be using for drinking and other uses,” Malysh says. “It is less [strain] on the water system to make. Water, some day if it is not there, I don’t know what the world will do without it.”
Based on the reality of water scarcity – in some regions – and the increased productivity, Malysh thinks it is only a matter of time before system owners start mandating the use of water recycling sewer cleaning systems. He also sees potential uses for his RECycler beyond local water and sewer work and he is exploring those options as he strives to continue to improve on the services offered in the Edmonton area.