The Hole Solution

Manhole accessories include protective devices, magnetic and lever lid-lifting systems, and inflow-prevention seals

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Manholes are vital components of the wastewater infrastructure. In recent years, inventive manufacturers have developed accessories that improve on the basic structure and make working around manholes easier and safer. Here is a look at some of the more recent innovations.

Lid-Lifting System

The Magnetic Manhole Cover Lift System from Industrial Magnetics Inc. helps one person move and replace manhole lids quickly and safely, significantly reducing injuries and disabilities caused by traditional prying and lifting.

Two deep-reaching PowerLift rare earth magnets attached to a spreader bar and lift dolly allow one operator to lift and move covers up to 36 inches. Smaller covers with smooth-surfaced centers can be lifted by removing the spreader bar and using one magnet. A vehicle-mounted Manhole PowerArm has a 400-pound lift capacity. The user drives to within 3 feet of the center of the lid, and the PowerArm adjusts to the location with a 3-foot, 180-degree swing radius, double-jointed elbow that allows the positioning of the magnet in the center of the manhole cover. 888/582-0822;

Power of a Lever

Bigs Easy Lift tools are simple, lightweight machines that let workers use the power of a lever to lift and remove manhole covers, grates and handhold covers. All lifting force is applied by pushing down on the handle, a motion that creates no back stress. The machine comes in three styles, each able to lift 500 pounds. The large, wheeled unit weighs 23 pounds, the small, wheeled unit weighs 17 pounds, and the tripod unit weighs 18 pounds. Attachments, including a 22-pound magnet that can lift 600 pounds, enable the tool to fit and lift any type of cover or grate. 866/926-5438;

Accident Prevention Guard

The Manhole Guard helps prevent serious injuries that occur when a worker falls into an open manhole. The device creates an 8-inch rise above the road surface that serves as a clear visual aid and sturdy barrier to reduce personnel injuries, as well as prevent loss of tools down manholes.

This lightweight device is designed to be adaptable to various manhole applications. Options include a temporary lid, sewer hose guide, camera cable and grout cable roller guide, and LED light kit. 800/782-4134;

Vehicle-Mounted Lifter

The LIFTER by Rock Mills Enterprises Inc. is a truck-mounted magnetic manhole cover lifter that mounts into a 2-inch receiver on the front or back of a vehicle. The unit eliminates injury caused by manually removing manhole covers and storm grates and improves efficiency by allowing operators to remove the cover without exiting the vehicle.

Custom hydraulics enable lifting of any size cover. The powerful magnet adheres to almost any ferrous metal surface. A camera on the front of the device and a monitor inside the vehicle enable users to position the vehicle. The lift is activated with a handheld remote. 712/451-6550;

Safety Ramps

Manhole Safety Ramps by American Highway Products Ltd. protect motorists from exposed utilities on road construction projects. Made of durable, 100 percent recycled rubber, the ramps can be used repeatedly, year after year.

The devices fit securely around raised utilities or manhole risers and will not shift or slip. When placed around an exposed manhole, the ramps provide a solid, smooth transition from the original surface to the manhole lid, protecting vehicles, equipment and the manhole. They come in four sizes: 10, 26, 28 and 31 inches. 888/272-2397;

Preventing Infiltration

The manhole chimney area is a main source of infiltration in sanitary sewer collection systems. Preventing infiltration during construction is cost-effective and simple. The Infi-Shield external seal from Sealing Systems Inc. increases system capacity by preventing erosion and infiltration in manholes and catch basins.

The one-piece molded seal is made from EPDM rubber and has a reinforced, preformed L-shaped corner. The seal is bonded with non-hardening butyl mastic and will pass a vacuum test. The device installs in minutes without special tools, and the structure can be immediately backfilled. 800/478-2054;

Single motion

The T Lift from Industrial Diversified Products Inc. is a manhole cover lifting device that unseats, lifts and sets down a manhole cover in one smooth motion with no set up. When properly attached, this 7-pound device lets workers remove covers with-out bending, straining or prying and without touching the lid.

The tool also cleans inside the ring for proper resealing. It can be used to lift manhole covers measuring 19 to 26 inches from pick hole to pick hole. An adjustable pin expands that range from 19 to 32 inches. To remove a cover, the worker places the carriage hook in a pick hole, then slides the shaft across the lid to grab the other pick hole with the scraping hook. Once the carriage is locked on the roll pin, the user lifts the lid. 251/626-9143;


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