Pumper Rewind: Industrial Maintenance Company Hot for UV Liners

Pumper Rewind: Industrial Maintenance Company Hot for UV Liners
A Precision crew worker at the outfall of a culvert cleaning project.

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We celebrate the continued dedication and hard work of septic service contractors by revisiting companies profiled 10 years ago in Pumper magazine. Check out the original story on Precision Industrial Maintenance we featured in the September 2004 issue: “Everything in Order.

Precision Industrial Maintenance was founded on a “can do” philosophy 22 years ago. Since the New England/Mid-Atlantic business was featured in Pumper 10 years ago, it has grown and expanded in hazardous, industrial and environmental waste cleanup, removal and disposal and added a revolutionary service using a environmentally friendly process for pipe lining.

“We started as an environmental company with a vacuum truck,” says Owner Todd Kilburn. As Precision developed a solid reputation for quality work, customers requested more services. In the market for new challenges, Kilburn obliged and purchased a combination truck to clean sewers, storm culverts and perform pipeline video inspections. 

Now, Precision is building on its truck/camera business and lining sanitary sewers and highway culverts — a process they first learned about at a Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo (now called the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport show). As a result, it’s adding municipalities to the customer base along with the usual industrial clients. This latest addition to services is exciting, says Kilburn, because it’s appealing for infrastructure projects and is environmentally friendly. 

Find the cure

Kilburn didn’t get excited about cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) lining until he saw a UV cure product at an Expo. His interest was peaked, so he travelled to Germany to visit the factory where SAERTEX liners are made. There he saw how the liners — flat and flexible like a fire hose — are pulled into place with a winch, blown up with air and then cured with a UV light. 

This method of installation gives the installer the ability to inspect the liner before curing it, eliminating any guesswork. UV cured liner is also four to five times stronger than liners used in steam or hot water and has an estimated 70-year lifespan — outlasting liners that use the steam process. UV cured liners have been used for the past 10-15 years in Europe and comprise about 70 percent of the market there. 

But, the real bonus, Kilburn explains, is that UV liners are environmentally friendly. Steam liners require an inversion (UV does not), which can fail and release styrene — a known hazardous chemical — into the environment contaminating the air, soil and waterways. With UV liners, there’s no chance of the chemical getting released when lining ecologically sensitive culverts that traverse the fishing streams and environmentally sensitive areas such as the Adirondacks. 

Upgraded equipment

To accommodate the equipment needs to offer this new lining service, Kilburn purchased a UV light system and a new 2014 Vactor combination truck equipped to clean sewers and culverts. Kilburn has kept pace with equipment requirements by updating much of Precision’s 22-vehicle fleet, including trucks for pumping, vacuuming and jetting. 

Precision is able to stay on top of vehicle maintenance partially with the help of a new GPS system, which helps track maintenance schedules, idle time and speed. This allows Precision to assure drivers are driving responsibly. 

“We have a responsibility to the public to monitor our vehicles. Our trucks travel across the road 40,000 pounds empty, and 60,000 to 70,000 pounds full. We believe in safety,” says Kilburn, who rewards workers for operating safely on a quarterly basis. 

Precision also invests in employee training. “We believe this is paid back in ways unmeasured — by accidents averted and customer satisfaction,” he says. 

Good training builds good workers

Fortunately, Precision has quality employees and a low turnover rate. “We pay them well, treat them with respect, and provide full benefits,” Kilburn says. Employees have told him that the company’s support and emphasis on training make them feel appreciated. 

Initially, an employee receives close to 300 hours of training. That training is followed up on an annual basis with an additional 50 to 100 hours. 

“It’s regulatorily driven, but what sets us apart is the company’s ‘buy-in’ to safety guidelines,” Kilburn explains. “We regularly remind our technicians what our standard operating protocol is. We want our crews to work safely and independently. In order for them to do this they need to understand their equipment — safety and otherwise — and their working conditions, chemical awareness and situational.” 

Most training is handled in-house, but twice a year the entire staff goes off site for a training company to review confined-space rescue and HAZWOPER training.

“One of our strengths is working in confined spaces,” Kilburn says. He notes that because of all the training, crews know what they’re doing and work well together. Precision doesn’t give that training away though; it’s made up for in the fees they charge, which tend to be on the higher end. 

“We’re not cheaper, but we make it easier,” he says. “When you hire Precision it will be done safely and correctly. You can comfortably concentrate on your own job responsibilities; our workers know their job and no oversight is required.” 

Marketing for the future

The lining work has added to the work schedule, and Precision is ready. “No more white board — as seen in the Pumper article 10 years ago,” Kilburn says. “Now we have a flat computer screen that can be changed and updated instantaneously, in addition to being accessed remotely. This ultimately means better response times for our customers. With the new liner service adding to our regular pumper, jetting and cleaning contracts, efficiency is important.” 

Although, Precision has a professional website, it has not jumped on the social media bandwagon. Face-to-face contact and word-of-mouth advertising have always been the company’s best marketing tools, says Kilburn. To spread the word of their new services, he prefers to set up informal lunches to educate engineers responsible for addressing aging infrastructure about the benefits of UV cured lining and the specifics of Precision’s services. 

Kilburn says he is excited to bring environmentally friendly, UV cured pipe lining to the market. He anticipates that the lining portion of the Precision market will take off as municipalities and industries become aware of its many options and benefits compared to digging and replacing pipe, which is costly, disruptive to traffic and sometimes not feasible. 

For example, the City of Kingston hired Precision last year when they needed to line a 100-year-old, 24-inch clay sewer that was 90-feet long in a stormwater tunnel carved in stone. There were some logistical challenges (including a 30-inch-diameter entrance), but workers successfully lined the sewer in a couple of weeks. 

It’s the kind of situation Kilburn thrives on — problem solving a unique challenge. His current focus is to expand and hone skills to become more efficient with lining. He strives to make Precision the company that municipalities and industry come to when they have a challenging scenario (like the one in Kingston) that they can’t seem to resolve.


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