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FPUD approves Vactor truck purchase

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The Fallbrook Public Utility District will be purchasing a new Vactor truck to drain FPUD sewers.

A 4-0 FPUD board vote Aug. 21, with Charley Wolk absent, approved the $389,770.54 purchase of a Vactor Manufacturing truck from Haaker Equipment Company. FPUD will acquire a 2024 Vactor Impact Combination Machine mounted on a 2024 Freightliner M2106 frame.

“It’s there for basically flushing out the sewer system,” said FPUD general manager Jack Bebee.

FPUD uses Vactor trucks for routine sewer main cleaning, maintenance, sewer main repairs and clearing a sewer main blockage or a pump station failure to transport waste to FPUD’s Water Reclamation Plant. FPUD currently has two Vactor trucks. The truck with the 2006 International DT570 frame was purchased in 2006 and the more recent truck was purchased in 2016.

The 2006 truck has reached the end of its life expectancy. New parts are difficult to obtain and the Vactor truck has not been operational for the past four months as FPUD has been waiting for backordered parts. In the past two years, FPUD has spent nearly $24,000 to keep the 2006 truck operational, and FPUD staff anticipated an increase in costs if the truck was retained. FPUD’s 2023-24 budget included replacing the truck.

“We really need about one and a half,” Bebee said.

Since FPUD does not regularly need both Vactor trucks at the same time, the district has rental agreements with both Valley Center Municipal Water District and Rainbow Municipal Water District for use of a Vactor truck. FPUD's older collection system requires more frequent use of a Vactor truck, but the Valley Center district has a relatively new sewer collections system so that district does not need its own Vactor truck and can contract out for monthly maintenance.

In 2018, FPUD approved an agreement with the Valley Center Municipal Water District which provides the Valley Center district with Vactor truck services including but not limited to grit removal and lift station maintenance. In January 2022, the FPUD board approved a rental agreement which allows the Rainbow Municipal Water District to use one of FPUD’s Vactor sewer flushing trucks; Rainbow had lost its Vactor truck due to California Air Resources Board regulations.

The new Vactor truck will be for FPUD use only while the 2016 truck will be available for the Valley Center and Rainbow districts. Requests from those districts must be made in advance, and any FPUD needs for that truck will supersede any request.

Vactor Manufacturing’s new Impact trucks have the same capacity as the company’s older trucks but are smaller. The smaller size will allow the new truck to maneuver through some of Fallbrook’s smaller streets easier. It weighs less than 40,000 pounds and has only two axles, so only a Class C driver’s license, rather than a commercial driver’s license, is required to drive the Vactor truck. More FPUD employees will be able to drive the truck and after-hours emergencies can be handled quicker.

Haaker Equipment Company, which is headquartered in La Verne and has a branch in Santee, is the sole source distributor for Vactor equipment so a sole source contract rather than the competitive bid process was warranted. Haaker has an agreement with the Sourcewell government agency purchasing cooperative which provides pricing for equipment.

The 2006 Vactor truck will be sold at auction.


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