1 December 1995

Shifting sludge has never been simpler

A CUSTOMISED 13,650-litre (3000gal) tanker is being used to deliver sewage sludge to farms in the Aberystwyth area of Dyfed, writes Robert Davies.

At first glance, the Hi-Spec tanker looks like any other leaving the companys Co Carlow plant in the Irish Republic. But contractor John Dalton ordered £4000 worth of factory-fitted modifications to the £10,000 basic machine.

These were needed for moving large volumes of sludge safely along the twisting roads and farm lanes found within a 15-mile radius of Welsh Waters sewage processing plant which serves the Cardigan Bay town.

Essential modifications

The tanker has two heavy duty road axles, the rear one steerable, and stronger springs than normal. The drawbar is also sprung, and the machine is fitted with larger tyres. Switching from vacuum to pressure is hydraulically-controlled, and the pump has been modified to reduce noise. There are also extra visual monitoring devices to ensure safe loading.

To haul the tanker, Mr Dalton has invested in a £59,000 Same Titan. The 160hp tractor was chosen because it has four-wheel braking and electronic powershift to cope with the huge number of gear changes required.

Elgan Evans, of suppliers Evans Bros, Llanrhystud, reckons the modified tanker is unique, and is a cost-effective way of shifting sludge from the processing plant to farms where it is injected into the soil. Using the high capacity rig in conjunction with a Fastrac-towed unmodified 9100-litre (2000gal) Hi-Spec tanker, Mr Daltons company has transported up to 455,000 litres (100,000gal) in a day.

Sludge, which is supplied free of charge to farmers, is transferred to a mobile nurse tank at the injection site, from where it is transferred along an umbilical pipe to the injector. The same equipment is also being used to move and apply slurry either directly into the soil or through a slurry gun. &#42

Aberystwyth contractor John Dalton.

John Dalton spent £4000 customising this 3000-gal Hi-Spec tanker for the fast, safe transport of sewage sludge.