For drainage contractors operating large gulley tankers in major cities across Europe, finding ways to work efficiently in the face of changing emissions, congestion and road regulations has meant looking to other solutions. For two contractors operating in London, Rioned’s new RioCom 7.5t Combination Unit is proving a surprisingly powerful and versatile alternative.

Alongside new emissions regulations, heavy goods vehicles over 18-tonnes operating in London are subject to the capital’s Lorry Control Scheme regarding when and where they can operate. 

This is particularly true for drainage contractors running tankers that provide 24-hour reactive maintenance, as the scheme restricts the movement of HGVs at night and weekends on specific roads. The aim is to minimise noise pollution, with operators needing permits to use restricted roads during the prescribed hours of the scheme. Failure to comply can result in large fines for contractors and drivers. 

Keith Borrett, Managing Director of drainage contractor Aquaflow Services Ltd, says the business has had to adapt to stay on the right side of the regulations. Aquaflow cover the whole of London and surrounding home counties and undertake much of their drainage, pump, mechanical services, CCTV and re-lining services within London’s Low and Ultra-low Emission Zones (ULEZ).

RioCom Aquaflow Services ltd.

“We operate a team of 40 engineers and a fleet of 45 specialised vehicles, from small transits, medium sprinters, through to large tankers,” he explains. “We are currently working towards ensuring all our fleet become emissions compliant, and we’ve continually reinvested in the best vehicles and equipment.” 

This informed the decision to purchase a RioCom 7.5t Jet/Vac Combination Unit. Keith says the company wanted a smaller tanker that was ULEZ compliant and powerful enough to tackle the work that Aquaflow undertake in central London, whilst also more environmentally friendly when travelling to undertake tasks around the home counties.

“Our work is quite diverse with both reactive jobs and regular maintenance contracts. We’ve been impressed by the performance of the RioCom. It offers flexibility for us to work in less accessible areas, and where it’s not viable for us to use a big tanker.”

The same is true for Edincare Drains, a newly formed division of Edincare Pumps, who are based in Hemel Hempstead and offer tankering, jetting and drainage CCTV services to a wide range of residential and commercial clients.

Director Andy Simpkins says the addition of the RioCom has brought immediate benefits.

 “85% of our work is inside the M25,” he says. “The new tanker is superb for working in London. Being a 7.5-tonne unit means we can work anywhere in the city, including the ULEZ zone, without restriction.”

 “The size of the unit also means we’re able to easily park outside homes and businesses without having to double park as we would with a larger tanker. This obviously causes fewer issues from neighbours and passing traffic.”

He says they have also been impressed with the power of the RioCom, even when parking a distance from the site. “Most of our work is in basements and we recently cleared a chamber, with a base that was approximately 10m from finished floor level. The overall hose length was 49m from the tanker and it handled it comfortably.” 

The fully equipped RioCom includes a powerful suction pump and jetter with a 3000 litre partitioned water tank (2000 ltr waste /1000 ltr clean) and the unit was also supplied with CCTV equipment. The additional secure storage for tools and lifting equipment means that Edincare can also use it as first response vehicle, deploying it quickly to site to resolve issues or prepare the way for other equipment if required. 

Andy says fuel efficiency is another plus: “The small tanker is averaging 21 miles-to-the-gallon, compared with an average of 8mpg for larger tankers. We’re really pleased, it’s a fantastic bit of kit.”