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Sweeping Industry Supplier Profiles

An Interview With Triverus' CEO, Hans Vogel

by Ranger Kidwell-Ross
October 2019
Triverus Logo

Triverus has been very successful to date with its high efficiency surface cleaners, which are blurring the lines between sweepers and power washers. At the same time, Triverus' products are advancing the environmental value provided when it comes to surface cleaning.

The company's product line includes one used for cleaning aircraft carrier decks; another for airport ramps, runways, and all aircraft traffic areas; and, in addition, one for surface cleaning, paint preparation, stormwater pollution prevention and more in parking decks and elsewhere.

We are moving into an era when it is becoming increasingly important to find ways to keep our air, as well as surface- and ground-water clean. This has been a challenge over time, since there is definitely an education process making the powers that be realize that the majority of pollutants are contained in particles three times the width of a human hair, or less. In fact, the PM-10 particles that are receiving increasing emphasis in terms of pavement removal, are only about 1/7th of the width of a human hair.

Triverus' machinery is dedicated to picking up and safely removing material in the PM-10 and under range. Triverus CEO, Hans Vogel, tells how his company got its start.

"Triverus began as a way to fulfill a 2001 Navy RFP that was designed specifically to address stormwater pollution runoff from aircraft carrier flight decks," said Vogel, "along with removal of FOD (Foreign Object Debris). This required a new way of surface cleaning."

Animation Ship Machine

As a response, the fledgling Triverus organization met the challenge by developing a new way to agitate the pavement surface, one that allowed them to then recover the material in a new, proprietary, manner that even provides a measure of sub-surface cleaning. Typically, a 2,000psi water system is employed in a mobile unit that cleans the surface extremely well, including oils and any FOD material, and then recovers the debris and water in order to keep it all from escaping into the environment.

Building upon its now ongoing success with military applications, the Triverus team sought to determine other uses for its new technology.

"We found other markets for our technology," said Vogel. "One obvious one was source control on areas that had been swept conventionally, but where environmentally damaging particles had been left behind either on the surface or in cracks and crevices. What we came up with were industrial and municipal users who had a problem in terms of particle source control even though they employed a scheduled routine of quarterly or weekly sweeping. Our goal was to 'move the needle' in terms of storm water pollutants at the outfall."

With their initial efforts, the answer appeared to be yes, especially with zinc and copper. In more recent times, the company has developed equipment designed to maintain and/or restore pervious pavement surfaces.

"The problem with pervious pavement surfaces," said Vogel, "is that they will get plugged with organic and/or inorganic material over time. A still emerging question is what the best way is to restore and maintain pervious pavement. We are proud to be able to report that, in working first with the Stormwater Center of the University of New Hampshire and, since then, with many other customers, we have shown we can restore pervious surface capabilities back to factory-installed specifications."

Vogel says the company's proprietary system applies water in a dynamic process at a specific rate. The water is never allowed to settle and displaces particles by what might be termed a "surface tension mechanism." The solids become entrained in the water droplets and then recovered along with the water.

One of the success stories touted by the company is the challenge faced by the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). The Airport faced an estimated cost of $5-$6 million to reroute drainage from its parking structures into the airport's sanitary sewer.

After signing a new agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in the spring of 2013, MSP could no longer allow runoff from cleaning operations to discharge directly into the storm sewer system, which ultimately drained into the Mississippi River tributaries. Cleaning the parking facilities also held aesthetic importance, as it was often the first part of the MSP customer experience.

"We have to maintain a very aggressive cleaning schedule," explained Paul Sichko, MSP's Assistant Director of Operations. "Previously, we would close a 500-space section for seven days; use high pressure hoses, scrubbers and agitators to clean the pavement; then flush the surface with water."

This cleaning process led to runoff water tainted with salt, oils, and solid waste matter, and was now a multi-million dollar problem. MSP's only other alternative to rerouting their drain system was to completely change the way water runoff was managed during the cleaning process. Sichko knew MSP needed to find a way to radically improve their cleaning operations.

Sichko found the answer to MSP's cleaning challenge to be the Triverus Municipal Cleaning Vehicle (MCV).

MCV Animation

Originally developed to restore the proper coefficient of friction on flight deck surfaces of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, the MCV is purpose-built onto a Bobcat Toolcat all-wheel steer carrier. The MCV features a 60-inch cleaning deck, and a combination purchase of four of the MCV units, plus two of Triverus' Water Treatment Trailers, the Airport's parking garage structure was able to achieve regulatory compliance. Bottom line: By using the Triverus system at an investment of about $1 million, the Airport no longer needed to reroute its plumbing at an expense of $5 million. The $4 million in savings even factored in equipment maintenance expenses.

The MSP airport crews were also able to clean the same 500-space area in two days, instead of the usual seven. "If you multiply 500 spaces by a maximum (parking fee) of $20 per day, that is $10,000 in lost revenue," Sichko explained. "Theoretically, by reducing the cleaning time to two days, we are realizing an additional $50,000 in parking revenue.

"The contaminated sludge that remains is tested by our environmental personnel. Thus far, they have determined that the waste is not hazardous and we are able to dispose of it in our standard dump areas," said MSP Field Maintenance Manager Lee Spangrud. "We lose a little water in the cleaning process, but most of it is reclaimed for reuse."

"MSP management wanted a high level of result in its parking facilities," said Vogel. "Their parking facilities are a huge revenue source for the airport and often the first part of the facility seen by visitors. They were able to achieve a good level of cosmetic cleanliness; however, they generated a huge amount of wastewater. That generates a huge disposal footprint that must be dealt with."

Triverus' system involves waste reclamation trailers that can handle the output from two of its cleaning machines at a time. Each trailer processes about 400 gallons of water at any given time. Whenever one of Triverus' MCV cleaners gets full it transports wastewater to the trailer, which by that time will have processed the previous load of dirty water and will upload the cleaned water back to the MCV. The system can operate for about a week using the same water, although about 10% additional must be added per hour of cleaning.

When it comes to cleaning pervious pavement, Vogel says the Triverus machines have now cleaned hundreds of spaces and have yet to encounter a surface so plugged that the problem couldn't be solved and the installation gotten back to proper drainage characteristics. Even the surfaces they've tackled that were 100% plugged, Vogel says, they were able to renew to specification efficiency. In the process, he says they've learned a lot about how to maintain the surfaces. More details on this and more are included in the approximately 25-minute audio podcast linked below.

"In our experience," Vogel continued,"even with surfaces where plugging has been blamed on inadequate substrate we've found that the restrictions have been within the first inch-and-a-half. That's very encouraging that the pavement can be restored without any deleterious effects long-term. That's pretty powerful.

"Another example is Amtrak in downtown Seattle: They put a pervious install into one of their train maintenance sheds. We've been cleaning it for the last five or six years. It's remained at top efficiency and has never been damaged or compromised by our method of cleaning."

In terms of restorative cleaning, Vogel says they've pulled tons of material out of pervious pavement for clients, as well. He's convinced that with quarterly enhanced sweeping, which is what the mandated technique is called by stormwater agencies, pervious surfaces can be kept completely up to OEM standards over time.

In terms of current products, Triverus has two basic products in the municipal market space. One is basically the width of a sidewalk, with a five-foot cleaning path. It's optimized for portability and mobility so, Vogel says, it's great for prepping lot spaces, sidewalks and even larger spaces.

The other is a 'street version' of the same technology, called a Facilities Maintenance Vehicle. This is made for street-side activities with a five-to-six hour daily mission without having to do any wastewater management.

ListenToPodcastBtn For this feature article, we recorded an interview Hans Vogel, CEO of Triverus. You may listen to the approximately 25-minute audio podcast interview conducted by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, WorldSweeper's Editor. Just click on the graphic link shown to the right (opens into a new browser window).

This video filmed at the APWA's PWX Show in Seattle in September of 2019 with Triverus' Marketing Director, Steve Karlin, also provides interesting information about the company. If you cannot view the smaller version embedded below, you may see the video online at YouTube at this location.

For more information on Triverus, the company's website is You may reach Hans Vogel via email sent to: and Triverus' Marketing Director, Steve Karlin, via email sent to: The direct phone number for Triverus is 866-670-7117.
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