Innovation since 1941

Sewer Equipment
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

Since 1941, Sewer Equipment has made its way to the forefront of the municipal and contractor sewer cleaning markets. It has established a presence in industrial, plumbing, government, and international sectors through superior design and manufacture of sewer cleaning and vacuum excavation equipment.
Customers rely on Sewer Equipment for new and pre-owned equipment, parts, and accessories. It offers equipment sales, rentals, rent-to-own agreements, and other financing options.

“Sewer Equipment has the broadest product offering in our industry. This vast product range allows us to ask smart questions and, more importantly, listen to the challenges faced by a particular customer’s application. With the array of products we manufacture, we can provide the correct equipment solution,” said National Sales Manager Dave Madole.

The philosophy at Sewer Equipment is, and always has been, to keep it simple. Its focus is simple machines that do a simple task: get the job done. The equipment is easy to operate and maintain and is reliable, making the company a trusted equipment partner.

From its humble beginnings as a one-man operation in a small garage in Park Ridge, Illinois, the company has grown to its current operations with headquarters in Dixon, Illinois and satellite locations in Clinton, Iowa; Island Lake, Illinois; and Rockaway, New Jersey. Sewer Equipment is always modernizing and increasing both its product selection and its reach to address the needs of the market better.

“It starts by developing products that improve a customer’s experience, rather than focusing on something a competitor cannot do. This focus is in our company’s DNA,” stated President John Wichmann. Sewer Equipment always encourages employees to ask the question, ‘Why?’

In the early days of the company, founder H.T. O’Brien and son, Jim O’Brien, Sr. developed a series of cutting-edge sewer cleaning machines and products. That same spirit of discovery has remained through the various leadership transitions from generation to generation.

Now in its third-generation of family-ownership, the company remains true to the philosophy of simplicity upon which it was founded and the innovative drive from which its growth has been derived.

The entrepreneurial spirit of Sewer Equipment is alive and well, and nowhere is this more evident than the 900 ECO Combination Sewer Cleaner. It has quickly become a staple in the industry due to the novel features it offers. As a result of the high demand for this truck, the company has invested in labor and production-related capital purchases to keep pace.

“Sewer Equipment has a rich history of innovation, and we are continuing that tradition with the 900 ECO Combination Sewer Cleaner which has played a significant role in our most recent growth,” explained Madole. “Sewer Equipment has listened to the market and developed a combination unit that is reliable, simple to operate and maintain.”

“It has a revolutionary powertrain system that allows the 900 to more efficiently transmit the power required by the module,” explained Wichmann. “The result of this system is a small capital spend for the end user since less chassis horsepower is required, improved reliability since there are no gearboxes to maintain, and a simpler operator interface thus reducing training requirements.”

Product Development Manager Stan Stuart highlighted Sewer Equipment’s patented Hydro Drive and why this patent for the 900 ECO combination sewer cleaner is significant. “The heart of the Hydro Drive offering is the pure simplicity and safety. During the development of this product, one of the most resounding complaints that we heard was associated with the complicated startup process that was required to put the equipment to work.”

The Hydro Drive has the least complicated startup process in the industry and is one of the safest trucks of its kind. “When talking about safety, most of the competition still utilizes a split-shaft PTO [power takeoff] to drive one or more of the components required during operation,” Stuart noted. “This requires the operator to place the truck in a forward drive gear while operating. The use of the Hydro Drive system eliminates this requirement, once again, by simply placing the truck in neutral and engaging the parking brake.”

Building from the success of the 900 ECO combination sewer cleaner and the Hydro Drive system, Sewer Equipment is hoping to continue to increase its selection of products and its international reach.

“As our product portfolio expands, the need to add support personnel and sales channels are a natural extension of our growth. This is true both domestically as well as internationally,” explained Wichmann.

In his role as National Sales Manager, Madole hopes to affect the company’s growth, “through development of our dealer network domestically as well as internationally and continue to build on the tremendous culture and history that already exists at Sewer Equipment.”

Sewer Equipment’s commitment to customer service is steadfast. Employees are extensively trained and they have the tools necessary to be successful. The company is a member of a number of industry associations and participates in several tradeshows to remain ahead of the trends.

As President, Wichmann hopes to achieve, “The continued development of innovative products, as well as the expansion of our business into related industries which will be achieved by maintaining the customer-first focus the company has always had. After all, why fix something that is not broken?”

Sewer Equipment will continue to be an industry leader with a broad variety of high-performance machines paired with its quality service. This can only be topped by its never-ending efforts to improve. Madole noted that the key to this will be, “maintaining our tradition of commitment to innovation through common sense solutions in the interest of growth, success and the continued satisfaction of customers.”

“At Sewer Equipment, we are keenly aware of who we are, what we stand for, and how we arrived here,” he said. “As an organization, we will continue to evolve and grow while holding fast to our foundation ‘Best products, best local support.’”



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