Council gets Super Vac to clean drains ahead of big freeze


picture of Councillor Dalgarno with super vac

Central Bedfordshire Council are preparing to beat the big freeze by using a new vehicle to tackle blocked drains across the region. The council’s highways team has rented a ‘Super Vac’ which will be used to clean and unblock around 11,000 drains during the winter period.

Unlike the normal machine, the Super Vac has a more powerful jet pressure which means it unblocks even the toughest of blocked drains and pipes in just a couple of minutes. It also has the power to deal with blockages from tree roots and is capable of clearing hundreds of metres of pipe in one day. It will mean that the council can clean more drains this year than previously, improving the local road conditions during the winter period whilst also saving the council both time and money.

The machine is part of the wider drain cleaning programme which the council started in the autumn of 2017. Since then, the council has inspected over 49,000 drains. The data they gathered has been used to compile a list of the most susceptible drains that will need more regular inspections.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “We are a proactive council and we’re starting to prepare for the colder weather early. We are delighted that our highways team is using the Super Vac this winter, as cleaning drains is vital for improving the safety of road users and our residents.

“At this time of year, it’s important that our drains flow freely to ensure that surface water is taken away from the road. Our gritting is less efficient if there’s too much water on the roads during freezing conditions, and it can lead to icy road surfaces, bringing problems for motorists.

“This machine will not only help us to save time by cleaning about 20 drains a day, but it will help us to save £1,000 a day on average as it removes the need to bring in a team to manually unblock the drains.  Our team have done a fantastic job clearing lots of drains ahead of the big freeze, and they will continue to do so throughout the winter period.”

Residents who notice a blocked drain can report it to the council at

For more information and to see which drains the council will be visiting over the next two months, please visit