Hydro's Settled Solids Management Crew

Wastewater Tank Cleaning Services

Founded in Florida in 1982, Settled Solids Management Services and equipment from Hydro International is the most effective and cost efficient way to remove accumulated sand, grit, and rags from wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and other liquid holding systems without damaging delicate submerged equipment such as aeration diffusers or mixers. 

We offer a wide range of water and wastewater tank cleaning services. Our proprietary technology allows us to clean most tanks while they remain operational and full of water, eliminating any interruptions to your daily operations. 

We primarily operate in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Mississippi but can offer many of our unique water tank cleaning services virtually anywhere.

Call us at 407.322.0330 or e-mail ssm@hydro-int.com to learn more. 

Every aspect of our wastewater tank cleaning technology has been customized to solve some of the most challenging operational problems the Southeast's water and wastewater community faces.

  • Sand and grit removal
  • Sludge removal and handling 
  • Vegetation removal
  • Total tank cleanout
  • Filter media cleaning and replacement
  • Sand recovery from lagoons and ponds   

We offer all of these services to wastewater treatment plants and private and industrial clients throughout the entire Southeast USA. Many of our services are available nationwide. 


  • Improve effluent quality
  • Increase efficiency and capacity
  • Extend equipment lifetimes
  • A tax-deductible maintenance expense

We get grit out of just about anything!

In addition to wastewater treatment tanks we can also remove solids from:

  • Connecting canals between lakes to open up passing zones for boat passage or from land-locked canals in housing areas.
  • Boat slips or docking areas where boat activity is restricted due to sand build-up.
  • Flooded storm water collection boxes where the water cannot be drained.
  • Quilted or concrete bottom ponds or basins.
  • Algae sludge can be removed from the bottom of lined or quilted ponds without damaging the expensive liner or pond bottom without draining.
  • Lime removal or most any other debris from water storage tanks.

We can often do this in situations where access is limited (or inaccessible) with conventional dredging systems, as well as when the process cannot be drained or turned off.

Sand Dragon - How it Works

Watch this short video to see how our unique Sand Dragon system can work so well in removing debris accumulated in your tanks or throughout your entire treatment plant without the need to take your critical processes offline to remove it.

Watch a Video showing how the Sand Dragon WorksHow the Sand Dragon Works So Well



We offer a wide range of tank cleaning services for wastewater treatment plants in the southeast US. Founded in Florida with over 35 years experience, our technology can remove sand and grit while the plant remains operational and while tanks remain filled.

Our hand operated process protects delicate submerged equipment and allows us to feel around it underwater to capture all of the grit. Our heavy equipment can be located far away from tanks that need to be cleaned via extension hoses to virtually any distance from the tanks that need cleaned. This can allow us to essentially operate off-site to reduce noise or roadway access issues if needed. Our systems are flexible enough to clean many of the deepest tanks out there that other cleaning processes just can't reach. We’ve operated over half mile away from the tanks that needed cleaning and have the capability to go even further.

Types of tanks and wastewater processes we service

  • Holding tanks and basins 
  • Equalization basins 
  • Trickling filters
  • Aeration basin cleaning
  • Fine or fixed air diffuser system cleaning
  • Anoxic basin cleaning
  • Surge tank cleaning
  • Oxidation ditch cleaning 
  • Nitrification tank cleaning 
  • Anaerobic digester cleaning 
  • Clarifier cleaning (primary clarifiers, secondary clarifiers, tertiary clarifiers) 
  • Chlorine contact chamber cleaning
  • Filter cell cleaning, filter media removal & replacement
  • Deep lift stations and wet well cleaning
  • Lined or quilted pond cleaning
  • Wastewater tank cleaning
  • Lift station cleaning
  • Wastewater pond or lagoon cleaning
  • Water storage tank lime removal
  • Wastewater rag removal
  • Wastewater tank rehabilitation and repair
  • Channel cleaning
  • Decentralized and remote wastewater treatment facilities

We can remove just about any type of solid materials you want out of nearly any wastewater process you've got, often without the need to drain or shut down any of your treatment processes. 

Sand and grit removal

Sand and grit is the leading cause of problems in wastewater treatment facilities. Excess sand and grit robs tank volume and efficiency, while raising operational costs due to higher electrical consumption, increased use of chemicals, premature wear and equipment failure on blowers, pumps, diffusers and internal piping.

We can remove sand and grit without emptying the tank in most cases, in a timely and efficient manner that will return the water and biomass to the tank. We can help keep your facility running at peak efficiency without having to drain the tank and interrupt daily operations.

Total tank cleanout

 Prepare for Demolition, Inspection, Sand Blasting, Painting, or Recoating

We can help with transferring liquid from one tank to another, or helping pump down tanks using various pumps from 2” diaphragm or trash pumps, to 4” hydraulic pumps capable of pumping 800 gal/min, to 4” to 6” diesel driven pumps. We can also remove all the remaining contents: sand, grit, rags, etc., after the water has been drained.

We offer a number of services to prepare for water tank demolition, inspection, sand blasting, painting, refurbishing, or installing new equipment such as:

  • Pressure-washing and sanitizing both the inside and outside of tank
  • Pressure-washing and sanitizing internal piping
  • Pickling of lines

Vegetation removal

We can remove overgrown vegetation, duckweed, small trees, and bushes from various tanks or ponds at your facility. Overgrowth can be unsightly, reduce efficiency, impair access, and reduce functionality.

Wastewater filter media cleaning and replacement

We can remove old filter media from any single or multi-layer filter media system. Single layer filter media can be recycled on site. This means removing, cleaning and returning existing media, and no need for total replacement of costly filter media.

With multi-layer systems, we can extract the filter media and deposit it into trucks for final disposal. We can also replace your filter media to bring the filter back to the original filter performance specifications.

Emergency services

We can help with emergency services due to torrential rains, hurricanes, tropical storms or flooding causing heavy flows, internal pipe breakageclogged lines, tank leakage, overflow, or other unplanned time-sensitive issues. We provide prioritized emergency service, in the form of sand and grit removal or pumping down or transferring liquids or water to keep your facility in compliance.

Wastewater rag removal services

Flushable wipes, rags, and strings are a significant problem for wastewater treatment facilities. While fine screening can prevent most rags from entering your treatment plant, even the finest screening system will not stop all of them. Rags wrap around equipment and cause all kinds of maintenance problems while also reducing the volume capacity and overall performance of any part of your operation where rags accumulate. Settled Solids Management's proprietary technology is the only effective solution to remove rags without draining your tanks and allows your treatment plant to remain fully operational.

  • Settled Solids Management at work
  • Jerry Mims Founder of SSM
  • Pontoon Tank Cleaning Service
  • Jerry & Pat at FWRC 2024
  • Part of the Settled Solids Management Fleet
  • Rags removed from a wastewater treatment plant
  • Sand Dragon System
  • Sand Dragon
  • Clean Sand Output from Sand Dragon
  • Sand Dragon Operating
  • Original Sand Dragon Logo

Can you provide this service outside of the Southeast US?


Short answer, it depends. Call us at 407.322.0330, no matter where you are located we'd love the opportunity to discuss your project and help you to determine the optimal service for your specific needs or even to help you find a different solution better suited to your project. 

Some of our services are reliant on heavy proprietary equipment which can limit our geographical reach to the Southeast US for our full set of service options. For larger and longer projects we can offer our services in a much broader geographic area. Many of our proprietary services require much less equipment allowing us to travel virtually anywhere in the United States. 


We have submerged aeration diffusers, heavy mechanical equipment would break them. Can your system help?


Absolutely! A major advantage to our cleaning process is our patented hand operated cleaning wand suction system. This allows us to gently feel around in the tank underwater without damaging any delicate submerged equipment while the tanks remain full of water and operating. This also allows for much more effective cleaning around submerged structures and equipment to remove ALL of the sand inside. 


How can I tell how much grit is in my tank without draining it down?


The most reliable way to accurately measure your grit volume is manual probing at various places in the plant. There are people offering a service to digitally scan beneath the waters to graphically show the estimated grit accumulation. While this service produces a nice looking graphic, this is a very expensive addition to your total project costs. Similar to fish finder technology, scanning also has significantly less accuracy than results taken with a physical probe. Unlike scanning, physical probing allows you to determine the density and nature of the materials in the tank (e.g. packed sand vs. lighter sludge) which provides a much more accurate prediction of the amount of removed materials that will actually need to be disposed of.   


How much does it cost to have my tanks probed for grit levels?


Nothing, we will do it for free! We can also provide an estimate of tank volume / capacity lost due to grit and an accurate estimate of the quantities that will need to be hauled off at no cost to you. Just give us a call at 407.322.0330 to set up a time that is convenient for you. 


Our tanks have limited road access, can you still help us?


Yes! Our hand operated cleaning wand can be operated at virtually any distance from our trucks and pumps. The wand just needs to be connected via hose connection. Our pumps, heavy equipment, and disposal trucks can be located anywhere else that is more convenient, with flexible hose extensions that allow reaching even the furthest away tanks without road access. 


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