30 June 2021 14:09 Edited
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Les Arcs in the Tarentaise valley in the Savoy region is one of France’s largest ski resorts. During the skiing season the snow groomers are in operation night after night. They prepare the downhill and cross-country ski runs for the crowds of skiers the next day. They are maintained in the Centre Technique des Deux Têtes in Bourg-Saint-Maurice. In the winter months a lot of waste collects in the long work pits. And at the end of the season it’s time for a spring clean. That is why Sylvain Thomas from the waste management company Scavi, based in Cognin close to Chambéry is here today with his vacuum pump and flushing vehicle.
The three-axle all-wheel drive Arocs 3353 is equipped with a body for cleaning and waste disposal built by French manufacturer, Rivard. The vehicle is fitted with an integrated chamber for water and sludge. “We can filter the dirty water and then re-use it for the spraying process,” Sylvain Thomas explains how his high-tech equipment works. He extends the wide suction hose and drops the end into the collecting tank of the work pit. At the same time his colleague sprays the floor of the pit clean with a fresh-water hose. The sludge is contaminated with oil and fuel residue so it has to be disposed of professionally.
Today the waste disposal technician has also brought his three-axle tanker trailer to that he doesn’t have to travel back and forth between the waste disposal company and Centre Technique. His speciality are operations in the mountains. That is why he has the company’s only all-wheel drive truck. “With the truck we can clean the water collecting tanks for the ski runs at the winter sport locations. Access is sometimes very difficult.” Thanks to the air suspension on all axles the truck is approved for a permissible gross mass of 44 tonnes.
“We carry out around 13,000 operations annually – starting with the drains in private households through to cleaning roads and collection tanks along the motorway as well as the disposal of liquid industrial waste.”
– Claude Thevenet, Managing Director at Scavi
“The company has more than 80 vehicles,” says Claude Thevenet, the Managing Director of the family-run firm. It has branches in Grenoble, Albertville, Annecy and Valence and thus covers the Ain, Savoy, Upper Savoy, Drôme and Isère regions. “We carry out around 13,000 operations annually – starting with the drains in private households through to cleaning roads and collection tanks along the motorway as well as the disposal of liquid industrial waste.” 45 vacuum pump and flushing vehicles which are equipped with the necessary hydrodynamic tools such as milling heads and chains as well as sewer robots if required are ready for operation. “Our vehicles are fitted with pumps which function with water pressures of between 100 and 330 bar and a flushing capacity of up to 600 litres per minute.”
Also four road tankers with a capacity of 24,000 litres are available for industrial customers, including a brand new Actros 1863 with ADR approval. Two special vehicles are equipped with a sludge drainage system which can reduce the water content of product or sewage sludge, sometimes down to a twentieth.
In the 45 years since Scavi began its work in the region’s waste management industry, environmental regulations and in turn the necessary special knowledge have increased enormously – as has the complexity of the required materials. As a result the new Arocs 3353 is worlds removed from the company’s first sewer cleaning vehicle which Claude Thevenet’s father drove when he first got involved in the waste management industry in 1976.
Photos: Hans Müller