Cleanway Group’s rapid response to hazardous incidents

Cleanway rapid response

In May 2022, a Cleanway Group emergency response team pumped 100 tonnes of canola seed from the carriages of a derailed train in New South Wales that was blocking the tracks.

At a chemical manufacturing plant in Victoria earlier this year, a response teams contained the pollution from a factory fire. The clean-up and ongoing emergency management is expected to continue for months.

And just recently, Cleanway Group provided spill management and remediation after an industrial fire swept through a Melbourne business.

It’s situations like these, says Peter Dickey, Cleanway Group Chief Commercial Officer, that continue to motivate him after decades on the job.

“Every single day is different,” Peter says. “Of the hundreds of incidents we have responded to, no two are alike. There’s always a difference in where it happens, how it happens, the conditions, the elements involved and the timing.

“We can use our experience from similar situations, but every incident has that little bit of difference that we have to be prepared for.”

Cleanway Group has built a reputation as a leader in hazardous and chemical waste disposal over the past 20 years. It provides a full suite of services from tailored waste management solutions to contaminated soil, chemical, hazardous, and liquid waste disposal.

The specialist spill and clean-up response service has evolved in answer  to customer needs. Peter says it’s an area that continues to grow.

“We were servicing existing clients for chemical and hazardous waste disposal and found that as they had incidents, we were the ones they would go to,” he says. “Because we already had a good rapport with them, when something went wrong in a spill sense, they would call us. We decided to strengthen the business and invest in rapid response teams.”

Those incidents can be anything from a broken hydraulic hose on an excavator that is spilling oil, to a cocktail of chemicals at a factory fire. While the management of each spill is different, Peter says response time is critical in all. Which is why Cleanway Group has a team available 24/7.

The team will first access spill containment and management before starting clean-up, disposal, and site decontamination. 

Cleanway response teamCleanway Group has staff trained in chemistry, transport and safety. They work closely with business owners and any agencies involved, such as the fire authority or Environment Protection Authority, to ensure all safety and environmental regulations are followed. 

Peter says a good rapport and emphasis on customer service plays a vital role in successfully managing incidents. It’s something the company has emphasised since its beginning.

“Our focus is all about service,” he says. “We’re really customer focused and aware of fostering a strong company culture.”

Cleanway Group started as a family business that aimed to help mid-tier markets dispose of hazardous and liquid wastes. Today, the company has a long list of tier 1 clients nationally.

Some of the hazardous chemicals dealt with on a daily basis include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), heavy metals, acid sulphate or pesticides, oil and fuel contaminants.

Because of the range of waste disposed of, the company has several treatment processes including chemical treatment, recycling and energy recovery.

“Companies are coming to us with environmental, hazardous or chemical waste issues,” Peter says. “We take that liability off them and put it in the best place for that waste type to be treated.

“We cast a wide net to accept a whole range of chemicals and waste streams and then the treatment can be just as wide.”

And while Peter says every company generates some type of hazardous waste or requires product destruction, the market space has changed over the past 10 years.

He says as Australian manufacturing has tapered off and chemical imports increase, spills and incidents are more frequent on transportation such as ships, trucks and trains, providing a new set of challenges.

Another challenge, Peter believes, is a lack of investment in new technology for the hazardous and liquid waste sector.

“I feel there is quite a lot of investment in other areas of waste, such as recycling plastics and organics, but when it comes to chemical and hazardous waste there has been a lack of investment across Australia for the past 10 years,” he says.

“That pushes the cost of disposal up and limits the capabilities of companies to be able to process some of the harder waste types.”

He says Cleanway Group has invested in best practice systems and continues to employ technology to operate safer, faster and efficiently.  

For more information, visit: www.cleanway.com.au

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