Pipe jetting process

“What is Pipe Jetting and Everything You Need to Know About It”

Everything you Need to Know About Pipe Jetting

One of the common maintenance activities required to keep sewer and stormwater pipes flowing at full capacity is pipe jetting. Pipe networks are periodically inspected using CCTV cameras to understand the condition of pipes. Operational & Maintenance (or service) defects identified are an indicator that jetting may be required. The most common problems that jetters are used to fix are: 

  • Sediment build-up 
  • Fat, oil, and grease 
  • Tree root removal
  • Object blockages 

There are a wide range of jetting units available that are designed to suit specific tasks or pipe sizes. 

Pipe jetting process

Figure 1 – Pipe jetter in action

Hydro-Jetting Components 

The major components that form a jetting rig are: 

  • Engine 
  • Water tank 
  • Hose & reel 
  • Nozzle 

Depending on the size and power of a jetting unit, it may be: fitted to a truck/van/pick-up, trailer mounted, or be a small portable unit capable of accessing difficult locations. 

Jetting truck

Figure 2 – Jetting Truck

How do jetters work?

Jetters are commonly powered by a diesel engine, although there are also electric and gas-powered options available. The delivery of water to the nozzle is measured in pressure and flow. It is important to understand how these differ and can affect the success of the work at hand. In general, pressure provides the cutting power, and flow will provide the flushing power. The larger the pipe, the more powerful the engine required, and more water required to carry on-board.  

An example range of pressure and flow is listed below; you should contact your local distributor for advice on best options for your typical projects. 




Smaller pipe jetting jobs. 

4000 PSI 

275 Bar 

5 Gallon/min  

20 Litre/min 

Typical all-rounder specification. 

4000 PSI 

275 Bar 

20 Gallon/min  

75 Litre/min 

High pressure output for more powerful cutting. 

5000 PSI 

345 Bar 

9 Gallon/min  

35 Litre/min 

Capable of clearing sediment build-up in larger pipes. 

2000 PSI 

140 Bar 

65 Gallon/min  

250 Litre/min 

Jetting is often completed in the upstream direction so that debris can flow back to the operator’s location, as well as minimising the risk of overflow behind blockages. The jetter nozzle uses the powerful spray of water to move along the pipe and completing the cutting/cleaning/flushing task required. There are hundreds of different nozzle designs on the market with the angle of spray from the nozzle defining if it is better suited to thrust/flushing or cutting/descaling.  

how jet stream works

Figure 3– The angle of jet stream to suit different performance criteria 

Nozzle Types and Accessories

There are standard nozzles designed to cover most circumstances, as well as specific nozzles and jetting accessories available. 

Switching Nozzle: The angle of spray can be adjusted while in the pipe from thrust (flushing) to cutting (descaling). 

Rotating Nozzle: Cleans full pipe surface. You may have seen stripes after cleaning where a fixed nozzle has not hit all parts of the pipe wall 

Sled Nozzles: Designed for heavy duty bottom sediment. Also called bottom cleaners, sledge, or sleigh nozzles. 

Camera Nozzle: Provides the ability to collect imagery from within the pipe while cleaning to collect condition data at the same time 

Debris Basket: Fitted at downstream point to collect debris and avoid secondary blockages after jetting. Also called drain traps, drain catchers.  

About the Author Mark Lee

Learn more about Sewer Network

VAPAR automates sewer and stormwater pipe condition assessment for councils, utilities and CCTV contractors.  Learn how we help improve the monitoring and maintenance of the underground pipes using AI.

Northumbrian Innovation Festival Sara Davies

VAPAR at Northumbrian Innovation Festival 2022

What I learned at the Northumbrian Innovation Festival

Author : Megan Clarkson

Representing team VAPAR, CEO Amanda Siqueira and myself headed to join the activities of the Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival, where the aim of this festival is to tackle community issues and encourage the collaboration of innovators to brainstorm solutions and pathways and tackle the pain points of the issues highlighted for the festival.

But before we get too deep into the problem-solving aspect of our sprint, here’s how our first morning kicked off.

Northumbrian Innovation Festival 2022

First Impressions

Walking into the venue, we were greeted by friendly faces, high energy and even a professional juggler, and after a much-needed coffee, we gathered into the main festival tent for our welcome. Singing golden oldies and lifting our spirits, the High Row Gospel Ensemble began the festival by setting the crowd at ease. However, Nigel Watson and Heidi Mottram brought us back to business and gave us some more insight as to what the theme of the festival is all about: Untapped Potential.

This festival aims to revolutionise the water industry by solving issues within areas such as climate change, population growth, affordability issues, customer service and environmental care driven by sprints of innovation. Collaboration is the key word, where members from different marketplaces have been invited to join and to bring different perspectives and different ideas and to try to push the boundaries as we work together and are encouraged to try to solve these issues.  Fortunately, after some motivational words by guest speaker Sara Davies from Dragon’s Den, we left for our sprint.

Northumbrian Innovation Festival Sara Davies

Sara Davies shared her inspiring story

HMS Sewer Sprint

We were invited to take part in the Team HMS Sewer sprint, sponsored by 1Spatial, and our first day was all about setting the scene: what is the problem and who does it affect?

From various speakers in the water industry, we were exposed to the issues resulting from the transition of public pipes becoming private; who now owns these pipes, and where are these pipes? The lack of clear pipe mapping to answer these questions have left water utilities wasting time on the job trying to find pipes, map them in the field and then try to figure out who has ownership of these pipes, and thus who fixes them?

After a day full of presentations, we wrapped up the afternoon with fun demonstrations of pipe inspections, sound tests and special CCTV equipment.

HMS Sewer Sprint

After some much needed rest, we were excited to tackle the issues we identified on day 1.

That’s where day two’s theme came in: how can we solve these issues? Amongst other supply chain providers, we spent the day showcasing our solutions in between creative activity breaks where we, VAPAR, alongside Minicam, shared our valuable insights and useful technology capabilities. To close the second day off in our sprint, we participated in what was called ‘Dragons’ Den’ questioning, where we got to answer questions sparked from our presentation. After many discussions, we ended the day by joining the rest of the festival in some networking.

Northumbrian Innovation Festival Day 2

Takeaways from the festival

The remainder of the week covered building the business case and thereafter conducting a technical discussion and developing the ideal solution. But the important take aways from this experience was showcasing how valuable it is when different sectors in the industry come together to solve problems that our communities are facing every day.

The Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival has set the bar high on how engaging conferences can be fun and informative whilst also creating an environment to meet new people, share different perspectives and showcase creative solutions.

Learn more about Sewer Network

VAPAR automates sewer and stormwater pipe condition assessment for councils, utilities and CCTV contractors.  Learn how we help improve the monitoring and maintenance of the underground pipes using AI.