Vickery Transportation thrives as liquid waste specialist
Feb 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Charles E Wilson
“Our drivers must know when there is a problem with the waste,” Cooley says. “We select the best truck drivers we can find, and we provide all the training they need. We give them the tools to do the job right, and this includes equipment such as a pH meter and digital thermometer.”
Upon return with a waste load, the Vickery Transportation driver checks in at the main office and delivers a sample of the waste shipment. The loaded tractor-trailer rig is weighed, after which the driver drops the trailer in the unloading bay.
Vickery Environmental personnel unload the trailer and rinse it out. Vickery Transportation trailers are washed out only at the Vickery Environmental facility, and the cleaning follows standard practice for hazardous waste transportation.
“Our tankers are cleaned thoroughly enough to ensure that we don't have a reaction from different wastes,” Whittington says. “Trailers are cleaned after each load as needed, but equipment hauling the same waste loads daily may go a week between cleanouts.”
Vickery Environmental personnel close the domelid (but don't lock down the wing nuts) after the cleaning process. The empty trailer is shuttled back to the facility entrance, where it is reweighed. It is then dropped in the parking lot ready for its next load.
Upon dispatch, the Vickery Transportation driver climbs on top of the trailer, checks to make sure the tank interior is clean and dry, and tightens the domelid wing nuts. After the trailer is loaded at the customer location, the driver seals the domelid and outlet with J J Keller plastic seals.
“Those seals are critical to our quality, safety, and security procedures,” Cooley says. “If we see a seal, we know the trailer hasn't been unloaded. A damaged seal can be an indication of tampering.”
The tank trailers used in the Vickery Transportation operation are designed for and are dedicated to the hauling of hazardous wastes. “We don't transport any virgin product in our operation,” Whittington says.
Most of the trailers in the fleet are vacuum tanks built to DOT407/412 code. These are preferred because they provide cleaner, more efficient operation, according to Whittington. Vacuum operation makes it possible to completely remove all hazardous waste from the hoses.
The fleet runs a variety of vacuum trailers to meet the specific handling needs of different hazardous wastes. Fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) trailers are getting plenty of attention right now. Vickery Transportation just bought four more FRP vacuum trailer — two from Comptank Corp and two from Brenner Tank LLC/Poly-Coat Systems Inc. All of them have a 5500-gallon capacity.
“We expect to buy more of the trailers in the future,” Whittington says. “Probably 80% of the products we haul could go in a fiberglass tank.”
Rubber-lined carbon steel vacuum trailers — mostly supplied by Brenner — have a 5,000-gallon capacity. The carrier specifies chlorobutyl rubber for longer lining life. “We're getting 10-12 years out of these linings, compared with five years for the lining material we used to specify,” Cooley says.
The carrier also runs stainless steel vacuum trailers. The unlined tanks typically have a 5500-gallon capacity. Recent stainless steel tank purchases have been from Acro Trailer Co and Brenner.
Tank hardware includes National Vacuum Equipment (NVE) stainless steel butterfly valves with EPDM gaskets. Plastic butterfly valves are used on rubber-lined and FRP tanks. “We find a lot of debris in waste shipments, and we've had the best success with these valves,” Whittington says. “The valves last four to five years in our operation.”
Trailers also have NVE Challenger vacuum pumps, Girard pressure-relief vents, and MiniRanger level gauges. Chlorobutyl rubber hose with stainless and polypropylene fittings is supplied by Hart Industries Inc.
Hendrickson Intraax air suspensions were specified on the newer vacuum trailers in the fleet. Running gear also includes steel disc wheels and Firestone tires.
Company tractors in the Vickery Transportation fleet are Peterbilt Model 379 conventionals with 70-inch walk-in sleepers. “We like the classic Peterbilt style,” Whittington says. “We chose Peterbilt for performance and resale value. We replace our tractors on a three-year schedule, which helps ensure that we run some of the latest technologies.”
The newest company tractors were specified with the Cummins ISX 475-horsepower engine, 13-speed Fuller transmission, and Eaton tandem-drive axles. A Drum Hydrapak hydraulic system provides power for the trailer-mounted vacuum pump.
Vickery Transportation outfits tractors with spill kits that are assembled in-house. Focused specifically on hazardous wastes, the kits include a 300-gallon popup swimming pool for spill containment.
Vehicle maintenance is a critical part of the operation, and every effort is made to ensure that the tractors and trailers can operate safely and reliably. Maintenance operations are contracted out, because the carrier found that to be most cost effective.
Whitey JAM Tire in Toledo, Ohio, handles most of the tractor and tire service. Buckeye Tank & Trailer Inc in Toledo, Ohio, provides most of the routine tank trailer service and federally mandated tank tests and inspections.
All in all, Vickery Transportation has assembled an operation capable of providing the best in hazardous waste hauling. The carrier continues to grow as it gains market share and expands its operating area.
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