Business Profile: CleanStream NZ Ltd

By: Randolph Covich, Photography by: Randolph Covich


Deals on Wheels visits a business that is disrupting the traditional ways contractors are dealing with the removal of silt and debris from waterways

Local authorities are sometimes accused of wasting ratepayer money and using antiquated systems to deal with works in environmentally sensitive areas.

And when you throw in working on bodies of water, the chance for something to go wrong can expand exponentially, but it is here where a Kiwi business has found their niche.

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The Swedish-built Truxor will soon be joined by a larger unit

As their name CleanStream NZ Ltd suggests, keeping waterways, dams, retention ponds, and other areas likely to be congested with silt and debris clean is what they are all about.

The work they do is simple, cost-effective, and non-intrusive. It sounds like a recipe for success where European-styled work methods have disrupted the usual ways removal and maintenance has previously been carried out. And it’s all thanks to a versatile machine called Truxor.

Amphibious machine

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The Truxor DM5045 is designed as a tool carrier that can be fitted with numerous attachments

Manufactured by Swedish-based Dorotea Mekaniska AB, the Truxor is essentially a floating amphibious tool carrier that can be fitted with a wide selection of tools and attachments, giving the ability to tackle work from reed cutting and dredging through to oil spill cleaning and much more. Suffice to say, working around waterways in New Zealand will never be the same again.

The manufacturer produces two models: the DM5000 (1390kg) and DM5045 (1400kg). While both machines have a similar weight factor, the slightly heavier DM5045 receives an additional 15hp from its Kubota V1505-T turbo diesel engine providing better performance for attachment use. Weight on the larger machine is kept similar to the sister model by reducing the amount of hydraulic oil in the system.

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Julian Raethel and Jozef Socuvka

Designed to provide low-ground pressure when working in challenging environments, the Truxor is capable of operating on water, dry land, or at the water’s edge with polypropylene tracks, providing the dual role of moving the Truxor on land and propelling the machine at up to 100 metres per minute on water.

On the job

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The tracks provide propulsion both on water and land

When Deals on Wheels visited CleanStream at their site near Central Auckland, the team was using the Truxor 5045 in a silt extraction job on a small but important tidal tributary of the Waitemata Harbour.

Business manager Julian Raethel explains: "This was a particularly sensitive site and the Council required the works to be carried out with little disruption to local residents as possible.

Also, the waterway weaves alongside a public park’s walking track, so ideally that was to be kept open as well. We have zero complaints about our operation so have easily met expectations."

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The silt is pumped into permeable bladders and drained

In the case of this job, CleanStream’s Truxor 5045 is set up with a Doro Pump that uses a screw drive to break off sediment, feeding it through a pump intake in a single operation. 

This mixture of water and silt is then pumped to a shore-based collection station and treated with flocculant, which separates the sediment from the water before being pumped into large permeable bladders (geotextile tubes) that are left to drain for around 24 hours before getting removed from the site. The whole operation is tidy, quiet, and efficient.

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Water is drained for around 24 hours

"What we are using here is an ideal method to carry out this type of work. We’ve worked with MPI and multiple Councils already, which shows we’re serious about doing it correctly," Julian says.

"We can pull up to 130 cubic metres per hour when operating, achieving around 40% dry solids in a 24-hour period.

"The only other way to do this kind of stuff is to use long-reach excavators, which as you appreciate would cause all types of ground disturbances and mitigation, such as extensive silt control and reinstatement measures. I’m sure everyone would agree this is a much better way to work."

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The operation is quiet and efficient

So much better, that CleanStream has a second larger amphibious machine arriving in New Zealand within a few months. The Amphi-King is built by German company Senwatec and has triple the pumping capacity as the Truxor 5045. The increased performance will give the business resilience and the ability to tailor equipment to a particular project’s requirements.

However, it hasn’t been all plain sailing for the water-borne contractors, and it wasn’t until a geologist who specialises in de-watering turned up onsite one day that things began to fall into place. As the story goes, the newly established business had the Truxor on a site north of Auckland.

What the CleanStream crew didn’t know was that geologist Jozef Socuvka was living nearby and on a walk one day, he spotted the machine at work.

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There is two-way communication with the shore-based crew at all times

"I could see they were having a few de-watering issues, so got talking to them and ended up with a job offer,"  Jozef says.

"I specialised in this type of work in Europe but the chances of coming across anything remotely similar to that here in New Zealand were almost nil at the best.  To find something within a short walk of where I was living is remarkable."

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40% dry solids are achieved in a 24-hour period

Having an experienced person on board has enabled the business to take on work all around the country and as word of their work spreads, enquires continue to come in.

"We’re working all around the place—Foxton, Balclutha, and Whakatane. That’s the beauty with our set-up. It’s easy to move and set up. We can get in and out quickly and are not limited by weather," Julian says.

For more information, contact CleanStream NZ Ltd on 021 965 391 or visit cleanstreamnz.com.

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