Steve Graham, Air & Gas Industries’ General Manager, speaks with Waste Management Review about the company’s decades-long history developing technically advanced transport solutions for the dangerous goods industry.
As highlighted by extended delays on Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel project, contaminated soil is a key challenge facing Australia’s booming infrastructure pipeline.
That said, industry is stepping up to the challenge, with a range of innovative companies bringing hazardous waste treatment and transport solutions to market. Air & Gas Industries (AGI) is one such company, recently developing a unique vacuum tanker capable of on-board contaminated soil treatment.
Steve Graham, AGI General Manager, explains that the tanker was conceptualised after a client came to the company seeking a tanker to remediate contaminated soils from old service stations.
AGI’s engineering team quickly got to work, developing a tailor-made vacuum tanker that can excavate material from the site and treat it through carbon filtration prior to going into the spoil tanks.
“Because the soil is being screened through a carbon filter process to remove contaminates on-board, the material can be delivered to dumping sites as clean, uncontaminated soil,” Graham says.
The project is just one of many innovations from AGI, which for almost 50 years has been delivering technical services to the gas and waste industries, as well as wider users of gaseous products.
“Since our founding, we have established a unique position in the market, providing services across contracting, liquefied gas engineering, industrial heating, fabricated products, service and maintenance, inspection and testing and merchandising,” Graham says.
LIQUEFIED PETROLEUM GAS
AGI was founded by Bill and Faye Jenkins in 1974 after the pair noticed growing market opportunity within Queensland’s liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industry.
“Bill was a professional metallurgist, and LPG was just getting started in Queensland, so he and Faye recognised an opportunity to come into that Industry and provide engineering and technical services for the transport of gas and other hazardous chemicals,” Graham says.
The first contract secured was for the Gas Supply Company – now Origin Energy – and involved doing changeovers for two LPG trucks.
The trucks were moved to the first premises in Seventeen Mile Rocks and were left for the weekend. Unfortunately, that weekend marked the beginning of the 1974 Brisbane floods.
It was another two weeks until Bill and Faye were able to gain access into their Seventeen Mile Rocks property, only to find the trucks floating in water. Bill and Faye then spent the following weeks drying all the electrical boards with hair dryers, towels and cotton buds.
“For a new start-up they certainly faced what may have seemed like insurmountable challenges in their first year of operation, but here we are now celebrating 47 years of operation,” Graham says.
In its early years, AGI’s primary focus was transport solutions for the gas industry, however, as its capabilities and experience grew, the company began to diversify into other sectors such as waste management and environmental remediation.
“As environmental protection laws changed and the waste industry became more regulated, AGI began to partner with leading organisations in the early 90’s to develop, manufacture and maintain liquid waste road tankers that were then, and remain today, at the leading edge of safety and reliability,” Graham says.
AGI has since worked with major waste players such as Cleanaway, Remondis and Veolia, as well as a range of energy and infrastructure companies ranging from Fulton Hogan to Caltex and BP.
To support its growth trajectory, AGI recently split the company into three core business units: AGI Manufacturing, AGI Technical and AGI Asset Reliability.
The manufacturing arm focuses on delivering Australian-made high-quality, custom engineered solutions including fixed and mobile process plant and specialised transportation equipment.
“Our dedicated team of engineers and skilled trade technicians take a first-time-right approach to deliver equipment that ensures strict statutory compliance, reliable and trouble-free operation for our customers,” Graham says.
He adds that AGI Asset Reliability provides asset management services to the energy sector and environmental waste management providers.
The final unit, AGI Technical, provides professional engineering services with a strong focus on helping customers achieve code and regulatory compliance with the energy and environmental sectors.
Ensuring strict compliance with applicable Australian standards is critical, Graham adds, given the heavily regulated nature of the sector and its associated risk.
“With any road tank vehicle that’s designed to transport dangerous goods, there’s a requirement to comply with the ABG code, and in accordance with that legislation there’s a requirement that each road vehicle be design approved for its application,” Graham says.
“Our engineers are able to provide a customised solution to our customers problems and transport requirements and ensure we have strict compliance with the code.”
All AGI products are manufactured in Australia, Graham says, further supporting AGI’s commitment to safety and ongoing regulatory compliance.
“Our products are all designed and engineered at our manufacturing facility in Wacol, Queensland, and come with nationally acknowledged design approval in-line with Australian standards,” he says.
“Given the ongoing challenge of imports coming into the Australian market without that compliance, we’re committed to keeping all of our products Australian-made and working with industry to help them fully understand their responsibilities under dangerous goods legislation.”
For more information click here.