Waste Management In Action

Essential service takes on a new meaning

essential service

E & J Septics in Melbourne is taking on the state’s “dirty work” and playing its role in helping trace COVID-19, with help from UD Trucks.  

Wastewater services have long been considered essential services but never more so than during a global pandemic.

While all waste streams have increased globally as COVID-19 forces countries into various forms of lockdown and restrictions, one is at the forefront of helping track the virus.

Wastewater across Victoria continues to be tested at treatment plants and in the sewer network, helping to shape the government’s health advice and decisions.

Fragments of COVID-19 can enter wastewater through toilet bowls, sinks and drains, giving authorities information about geographical areas of populations where the virus might be.

Ryan Sockett, General Manager of E & J Septics, and his team are playing their role in helping to piece together COVID’s spread.

With more than 40 years’ experience in waste management services and a fleet of 15 trucks, E & J Septics has a wide network of domestic and industry customers across Victoria.

The team has been asked by City West Water to provide wastewater samples as part of the statewide testing blitz.

“It’s the nature of our work,” Ryan says. “With everyone washing their hands more, things are filling up and people are needing more septic services. We pump everything out and take the waste with us.”

Ryan says the construction industry being deemed an essential service and able to continue operating, albeit at a reduced capacity, has also kept his team occupied.

They continue to empty and service portable toilets and septic holding tanks at work sites, pump pits for stormwater or sewage, and excess ground water.

Waste collected is transported to treatment plants across the state where it goes through flow meters and pH testing to ensure no contaminants are released into the sewer. It’s here COVID testing is also conducted.

Ryan says personal safety has always been a priority so there’s been no marked difference in precautions while working during the pandemic.

He’s run the business for the past eight years and knows it from the ground up, after learning the ropes from his dad. He’s also been there as the company has grown from one truck to a fleet of 15.

“We secured a contract within the building industry and everything snowballed from there,” he says.

UD trucksRyan says strong customer service and reliability are pillars of the company. Key to that is specialised service vehicles from UD Trucks.

E & J Septics has a variety of tanker trucks and trailers to handle everything from difficult-to-access locations to extensive waste removal for domestic, commercial and event situations.

Several recent additions to the fleet stand out among the rest.

Ryan says the Quon and Croner models from UD Trucks have quickly become a favourite of the fleet’s drivers.

“They love them,” he said. “They’re easy to use, up-to-date and well designed.

“When the team does 10-12 hours a day, they need something comfortable and reliable that will get the job done.”

It doesn’t hurt that both the Quon and Croner are described as the perfect “office” for drivers, combining latest technology and comfort. 

Billed as the next generation of UD Trucks, the Quon is a heavy-duty truck with design enhancements in five major areas – drivability, fuel efficiency and environmental care, safety, productivity and smart uptime allowing for longer service intervals.

The medium-duty Croner is available in two models. A choice of wheelbases offer up to 18 different basic configurations, PTO and job-specific customisation.

Both ranges are designed to minimise fuel consumption, which means increased productivity and lower costs.

A big selling point for Ryan; when one Quon at E & J Septics can notch up between 1200-1500 kilometres a week.

“We do tick over the ‘k’s’ pretty quick,” he says. “And it’s not just highway driving, we do a lot of rugged terrain. Reliability is one of the big things for us.”

It’s also one of the reasons Ryan turned to UD Trucks.

He says he had “trouble with servicing” from a previous supplier, so was keen to look elsewhere. 

UD Trucks ticked all the boxes and is a part of the biggest service network in Australia and New Zealand.

Every UD Truck has a tailored service schedule to reduce workshop visits, optimise service intervals for maximum uptime and reduce over-servicing. UD Trucks service agreements lock down costs now and into the future while UD Roadside Assistance reduces unexpected downtime. Ryan says one of the trucks is heading into the workshop, after more than 500,000 kilometres.

“CMV Truck & Bus Dandenong; I’ve had good service from those guys and will keep going back,” he says. 

E & J Septics has three Quon and two Croner models. Ryan says that could soon expand.

“I’m in the process of updating in the next couple of months,” he says.

“Potentially the whole fleet would be moved across to UD Trucks once we get the opportunity.” 

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