Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council have purchased the latest in capital equipment and systems technologies to increase the efficiency of its gully cleaning operation. Centring on the use of Whale Tankers’ upgraded GULLYWhale MVC (medium volume combination) tanker, the Council’s new generation gully cleaner is also equipped with an intelligent onboard GPS/GIS system.

As Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s Terry Longden explains: “It is all about improving asset management by increasing the efficiency of our gully cleaning operation. Indeed the specification of the new GullyWhale MVC followed an extensive trial period where its operating performance was thoroughly evaluated.”

Specified on DAF’s FA LF55 18-tonne, 4 x 2 chassis, the 1800-gallon capacity tanker’s recently introduced operational and health and safety benefits are already being put to use to increase the efficiency with which some 28,000 gullies across the borough are cleaned and maintained.

Using the vacuum and jetting capabilities of the GULLYWhale, combined with the efficiencies of the GPS/GIS system – the software for which has been developed in-house – the Council now has the capability to accurately record the exact location and condition of each gully, whilst overseeing its upkeep in the process. Based on the findings recorded during each inspection, this then enables a judgement to be made as to the timeframe required before each gully is revisited, thereby delivering further efficiencies.

As Terry Longden continues: “By combining the features of the GULLYWhale with the onboard information/data capture system, we now have a highly capable piece of machinery that is already proving a big hit with our operatives.”

Joining the Council’s Environment Department as a replacement vehicle, the GULLYWhale MVC has a number of innovative features, all of which have positive operational and health and safety implications. Included within the vehicle specification for Blackburn & Darwen is Whale’s recently introduced anti-vibration gully boom control unit – developed in-house as a means of reducing health and safety concerns surrounding hand-arm (HAV) vibration.

The GULLYWhale MVC also features an ORCA 240 high pressure jetting unit. Here, the main and secondary reels have their own dedicated pressure control switches which, with the addition of a heavy-duty unloader valve, allows for much more responsive jetting control. Additionally, when using a jetting nozzle, a ‘safe start’ mode ensures that the jetting pressure reverts to zero after each operation, and then increases as required.

Furthermore, for hand-lance jetting, a ‘soft start’ facility allows for the jetting pressure to start at a more manageable 25 Bar, before automatically ramping up to the desired pressure.

The GULLYWhale MVC also features ‘Pulse Jetting’ that enhances the jetting performance for certain applications by introducing a pulse into the flow, thereby allowing more stubborn obstructions to be broken down, whilst also allowing for longer hose runs to be used.

Also featured relating to jetting is a ‘hose meter’. Operating via sensors located outside the reel housing, tolerant to its working environment, a digital display provides the operator with two read outs; one showing how much hose remains on the reel at any given time, the other an incremental measurement of the length deployed down a drain. Mounted on the reel frame itself, the unit – suitable for retrofitting – is simple and foolproof to operate. Vacuum performance of the GULLYWhale comes from a Mistral 402 series exhauster/compressor.

And last but not least, GULLYWhale’s boom brake is being particularly well received. As Terry concludes: “Given that on many occasions our crews have to negotiate reversing down narrow streets, the boom break is a much welcomed feature that will increase operational safety for all concerned.”