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Editor’s note: This is an edited article that originally appeared in John Deere’s Worksite Journal. To view the full interview, go to www.JohnDeere.com/enviroclean.
It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it. When Ken Murphy, founder of Enviro Clean Companies, was working in the oil and gas industry in the 1990s, the cost of cleaning up an oil spill was astronomical. Murphy knew finding a better way would be an excellent business opportunity.
So instead of the dig-and-haul practices common to most remediation companies, Murphy determined hydrocarbon-contaminated soil could be treated on-site, saving on trucking and disposal fees. He discovered many disposal companies brought all of the equipment they had to a customer’s site just in case it was needed, and then billed for it.
Murphy believed this was needlessly expensive. By bringing only the equipment being used, Murphy and his new company began saving customers a tremendous amount of money.
Enviro Clean’s cost-effective approach to remediation cut the cost of typical dig-and-haul jobs by half — a fact not lost on customers. Since he founded the Oklahoma City-based company in 1994, it has grown from $300,000 in annual sales to over $10 million in 2011. Enviro Clean has been named six times as one of Oklahoma City’s fastest-growing companies, and three times as one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing private companies in America.
Compact track loaders and compact excavators are essential components in the Enviro Clean arsenal. Equipped with a tiller attachment, CTLs turn the soil to the proper depth to apply the treatment needed for remediation. “You really can’t do this with any other piece of equipment like a tractor,” explains Dunn. “The compact size of the CTLs allows them to slip easily into tank batteries and creek beds, and around pipelines and other equipment. We’ve been doing it this way for years, and maneuverability is so much better than using bigger machines.
“We work in areas that are really saturated with oil or saltwater. The CTL’s wide tracks and high ground clearance allow them to get in and out of places where other machines get stuck.”
Dunn is also impressed by the CTL’s pushing capability. “Other machines stall out, but these don’t. Lift capability is beyond our expectations, and no other small machine has the ability to lift high enough to reach into dump trucks like these machines.” In addition to tilling, CTLs are used for a wide variety of other tasks. “They’re incredibly versatile. You can take a single machine out to a project and it does multiple jobs. That saves us a lot of time and money.”
Enviro Clean provides full-service environmental-remediation services for customers in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Kansas, Montana, and North Dakota. The company handles emergency response, truck
rollovers, and hazardous waste, but most of the work is performed for the oil and gas industry.
In recent years, Enviro Clean’s growth has been fueled by a natural-gas and shale-oil bonanza, the result of the growing use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking techniques.