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Nov 28, 2017

City Council turns on jet vacuum drain cleaner

CEMO was out in the City today testing its brand new 2017 jet vacuum cleaner. The high tech piece of equipment will be used to clean out the drains and canals around the city to lessen flooding. It costs almost a million dollars and to make sure that it serves its purpose, the team responsible for its operation is being trained how to use the machine. We went out to King Street today where CEMO and a team were putting the cleaner to a test. CEMO’s Philip Willoughby says that the truck is part of the wider flood mitigation project for Belize City. Last month the jet vacuum cleaner and several other piece of road and canal maintenance equipment were handed over to the Belize City and Ministry of Works through an I.D.B. funded project. Willoughby tells us how this truck will work to clean the sludge out of the canals in the City.


Philip Willoughby, CEMO

Philip Willoughby

“We will be doing comprehensive to major drain cleaning after the training has been completed on a daily basis. Some will say that the City shouldn’t flood, but we will say that yes the City will still flood in certain areas  but you will then be able to gauge within a reasonable time to see how then how the mitigation aspect falls into place and how quickly the water off the streets from across the city.”


Andrea Polanco

“You’re testing it out today; talk to us – are you satisfied with the work it is doing?”


Philip Willoughby

“Yes. Extremely. When we took up that manhole cover there, the sludge was up to the street and by the time we have concluded this morning’s exercise we have been able to clear about ten yards or so before the corner of the lane. So, that is impressive to me because man-power alone wouldn’t have been able to accomplish that feat that we overcame here this morning in terms of clearing the drain. I was told there is a fan down there, so we need to get that out. We don’t know what we will be finding in these covered drains but it is our responsibility to get it out. What is basically or generally in our drains? Debris, dirt, garbage, waste, sand; it builds up over time, it turns mud and gets hard. So, what we will do, once it is vacuumed out there is a separator in there; so the garbage and the waste that is in there will go to the transfer station; the water can be drained off anywhere and then from there it goes over to the transfer station. So, for the time being, we will be dumping in the open area across from the transfer station to the left when the dirt or garbage dries over then we carry it over to the transfer station. What I can tell you is that this vehicle comes with a computer technology capacity to diagnose itself. So, we could trouble shoot from the brain piece in the front of interior of truck and then from there we could communicate through. Gentrac and the company in Florida to facilitate us with parts and that type of things or come back and assist us. When you see this truck in your area or community, respect this truck. Let’s take heed from the personnel operating this truck. You will see cones cordoning off the areas, you will see caution tape. The power of this truck to suck or blow to flush out – the PSI, I think, is well over 3,000. That is a whole lot of power and you wouldn’t want to be flushing out a drain and you have property or life around the vehicle and then you create harm or damage, so we would like to mitigate against that.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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