Looking Forward to 2016 in the Liquid Waste Industry

As the year ends, almost everyone is both trying to catch up, but also trying to find the best time to meet to review the business of the previous year. In order to ensure a good and prosperous new year, it is often important to make a serious review of the previous year’s successes and challenges. We wanted to discover what is new in 2016 for contractors across the country and so in this editorial we talked with a septic service company from Chester County, Pennsylvania, serving all of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a septic service company from Boerne, Texas, serving the greater San Antonio area, and a third from Canton, Connecticut, serving all of the Harford area, and beyond.

Gray Brothers Septic Services
Bari Harvey, VP of Operations at Gray Brothers, Inc. Septic Services tells us that “Gray Brothers started in 1929, when George B. Gray saw the need for the expertise and dependable service in the septic service industry in the area, something that was missing but sorely needed. So he formed his own septic company. In 1944, his brother Robert became a partner after his tour of duty in World War II. The two Brothers renamed the company Gray Brothers. The company continues to be a fourth-generation family-controlled and operated firm.” After providing us with a little history of the company, Bari was excited to tell us about the company’s progress from last year into 2016. “After finishing 2015 as the best year yet, we are looking forward to 2016 with an increase in our work force as well as additions to our equipment in order to continue our long standing commitment to the septic industry and our local community. We consider it a privilege to provide outstanding septic services to over 20,000 customers within the Main Line, Delaware, Montgomery and Chester County areas of Southeastern Pennsylvania for 86 years.”

Van Delden On-Site Wastewater Systems
We then spoke with another fourth-generation septic service company, Van Delden On-Site Wastewater Systems. As Courtney Van Delden tells us, “in 2016, the 3rd generation owners Garrett & Pam Van Delden will be shifting more responsibility to my brother Chad Van Delden and me Courtney Van Delden, the 4th generation of the family business. With installations consistently being scheduled more than 4 months out, our marketing efforts in 2016 will be directed towards other services, such as septic tank cleaning and aerobic system maintenance. The company currently runs 4 vacuum trucks for septic tank cleaning and has 4 aerobic service technicians in addition to two installation crews.” The younger Van Delden siblings have some new plans for the upcoming year, as Courtney explains: “Secured storage additions are planned for the inventory area of the shop to make more room for aerobic system parts and shop tools which will be monitored by a designated technician. The technician will check out inventory parts to other technicians and installers via computer, and the room will be video recorded as are all areas of the shop and yard. A full-time mechanic has just been added to the team as continual repairs and maintenance are needed on our machinery and our fleet of vehicles. Since 1937, the company has continued to grow each year, so we look forward to another great year in 2016!”

Russ’s Septic Service
Finally, we spoke with Kristeen Neher, who, with her husband Russ, are together proud owners and operators of Russ’s Septic Service. As many contractors are doing, sitting down and reviewing their business, Kristeen tells us that “this is the time of year when Russ and I sit down and discuss what we accomplished during the past year and make a list of what we need to improve on, and what we will accomplish in the coming year” Kristeen says, continuing, “2015 was a huge year for us. We changed everything: from office programs, to new field tools, to how the company operates, including some areas that we need to build upon and improve on in 2016. We know that in 2016 we have to work towards bringing in more help in our busy seasons to keep up with the work flow, and to continue our education and learning so we can keep up with the current standards and learn more about the continuing changes and new information and regulations concerning the liquid waste industry.” In addition to those changes, Kristeen informs us that “we also will continue to improve and update our website and social media presence which, so far, has been a great boon to our business.”
As with many in the liquid waste industry, the Nehers are becoming more and more involved in environmental issues, especially issues that impact their business practices and their customers. As Kristeen explains, “we have always had concerns about the pollution of our waters and the effects and changes as a result of wastewater being dumped into our waters, or failing septic systems that have the potential to drain off into local waterways such as lakes, ponds and rivers.” In fact, it is not only septic system owners that are becoming more aware of how wastewater impacts the environment if not handled and managed properly, but customers are also expressing their concerns. Kristeen tells us that “our customers are really starting to take notice of the potential threats that can happen by not having proper service/routine checks on their septic systems, especially those who live near bodies of water. We are currently putting together information packets about these issues for them as requested, and what they can do to help keep our waters clean, not to mention how important is it for the customers to become more aware of routine cleaning programs and inspection programs. Community members can also link up with local Lake and Pond Associations which, at least in our part of Connecticut, was actually started a few years back; 2016 looks like it will be a break out year for these issues.”
Russ’s Septic Service feels it is important to give back to the community where they work and live. As Kristeen explains,“2015 was a great year for our family to get out and have some fun and give back. Each year we start a new event and keep the ones that really help and continue them year after year, So far we have instituted Adopt a Double Dog and get a Free Cleaning; ‘Who Gives A Crap,’ toilet paper we hand out where the funds go to clean water initiatives around the world; and Free Porta Potty Rentals for Non Profit events. All of these programs will be continued into 2016. We are currently brainstorming for our next big 2016 event.”

Story by Mark Joseph Manion



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