Articles & Case Studies

Wessex Water Sprinters flush with success

Posted: Thursday 29th October 2009

A water company that serves an area of south west England is using the first of a new generation of jetting systems aboard its first Mercedes-Benz vans.

Wessex Water’s high-pressure jetters are by drain and sewer cleaning equipment specialist Rioned, and it was on the recommendation of the Dutch firm that the water company commissioned its three new Mercedes Sprinter 313CDIs.

Wessex Water serves an area of some 10,000 square kilometres that includes Dorset, Somerset, Bristol most of Wiltshire and parts of Gloucestershire and Hampshire. Its medium length, standard height Sprinters were supplied by Fareham dealer Pentagon and are working from depots in Avonmouth, Poole and Taunton.

Key to the appeal of the Rioned jetting system is the fact that it can be carried, fully enclosed, within the van’s cargo bay, and operated by a single individual.

Chris Plenty, Divisional Sewerage Manager for Wessex Water, said: “Previously we were towing units which meant we regularly sent out two-man crews. So this new concept represents a significant advance in terms of productivity, as well as being a lot more manoeuvrable and user-friendly – the feedback from our operatives has been very positive.”

The Mercedes are more secure too, thanks in part to a special feature that automatically shuts down the jetting system if the vehicle is tampered with. The Sprinters are also fitted with 100-gallon water tanks although to remain within the 3.5-tonne gross weight threshold these are always empty while the vehicles are out on the road, and only filled on site.

Tony Francis, who is responsible for Wessex Water’s fleet, which includes 800 vans, added: “Rioned provided us with a demonstration unit mounted on a Sprinter which we used for six months and proved very successful.

“The Mercedes-Benz team, both locally and at a national level, have been very proactive and easy to deal with, liaising with our equipment supplier and putting together a competitively-priced five-year repair and maintenance package.

“We will certainly be watching these new Mercedes closely, to see how they perform in terms of reliability, driver acceptability and running costs.”

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