Case Studies

English Sewage Disposal Inc.

Serving southern New Jersey's septic systems since 1971

David English founded English Sewage Disposal Inc. (ESD) in 1971 as a small septic pumping and portable toilet company in southern New Jersey. Over the years, the company has grown and diversified into additional related services. Paul Behrens, owner of BECA Environmental Consultants, purchased the business from David in 1998. He has since built up the team and added more to the company’s capabilities all the while maintaining its leading reputation throughout the region for quality service and professionalism.

Paul has a background in the nuclear energy business, where he first obtained wastewater certifications and maintained facility environmental compliance programs. He founded BECA Environmental Consultants in 1993 before his retirement from the energy industry in 1998.

The company now services all types of septic systems. The business has branched out into serving nuclear plants, as well as municipal, residential, commercial and portable systems. To date, ESD has served more than 17,000 customers.

The business operates from a single location in Bridgeton, N.J., and serves the entire southern portion of the state. Paul has approximately 45 employees who provide safe and efficient service to the diverse customer base. Work varies by season, with year-round maintenance for public and private septic systems. In the warmer months, the company rents out portable toilets for a wide range of gatherings and projects with short-term and long-term contracts customizable to the needs of customers.

Staying busy

With a growing customer base and strong capabilities in septic and septic-related services, the team has been involved in a number of unique projects in recent years. “We work on the systems that other contractors will walk away from… we love the challenge,” says Paul. “Sometimes the location or size seems intimidating. We recently worked on a large commercial system for a company that is small, but has a lot going on. Our crew worked with an engineer and the county health department to get the system up and running efficiently. This was a challenging project because the sizing and location. It took eight weeks for engineering and two weeks for installation.”

ESD also recently became the licensed operator for a plant that feeds into Delaware Bay. “Our team worked with the design engineering consultant to customize the new treatment plant design,” Paul elaborates. “We operate their wastewater treatment system service seven days a week. We have to keep everything up to New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection compliance with a zero-tolerance policy. We have worked through tough weather and other obstacles beyond our control. Right now we are in the process of doing additional upgrades on that plant, providing technical input.”

Paul explains that recent regulatory changes in New Jersey have opened up new market opportunities for professional installers. “The National Environmental Health Association [NEHA] has begun credentialing installers in both basic and advanced septic installation,” he details. “The more advanced systems require the advanced septic installers credential. ESD has partnered with Norweco to distribute and install their systems, which can only be installed in New Jersey by NEHA advanced installation professionals. These units solve many of the installation issues where mounded systems were once required. This is a new and exciting development in New Jersey, which potentially saves property owners in installation costs and allows installation septic systems on previously difficult sites. Norweco has certainly made a difference in our ability save our clients’ money.”

Keeping it clean

Paul and his team are building up a strong portfolio. While the recent economic downturn affected contractors across the country, he explains that demand for his team’s services has not gone down. “The difference is that while other industries have challenges, in this industry, septic service is a deferrable expense and, people don’t want to work on a septic tank until it backs up into the house,” he explains. “Marketing and promoting the business is a key element in our business strategy. As a member of the community at large we work through our memberships in local chambers and partnering with community events to build a strong public presence.”

Still, septic systems must be served and Paul says his team is in a good market. In the near term Paul plans to expand his federal contracting presence. Current initiatives are geared toward strengthening existing business lines and ensuring the team is up-to-date with changing regulations and best practices. Continual training is key to ESD’s success.

As with most companies, changing trucking regulations have been a recent focus. To make sure the business stays up to standards, the team recently attended a conference in Indianapolis on Department of Transportation compliance on the national level. “We learned that many companies could go out of business because of safety regulations,” Paul notes. “We wanted to participate in that dialogue.”

ESD has several other new programs and initiatives to help better serve customers. The business now offers accredited continuing education classes to realtors, which allows ESD to educate the real estate professionals and respective customers. Furthermore, the business is also working on a new website and upgrading its social media presence. These initiatives will help Paul and his team grow into new markets as the industry changes. By staying ahead of regulatory changes and customer demands, English Sewage Disposal Inc. is positioned to grow consistently over the coming years.

Published on: August 22, 2014


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