Lee’s Environmental, a Brisbane-based family business, makes the most of mining the less desirable recesses of the most desirable holiday destinations in the country. Noosa. Surfer’s Paradise. NSW Northern Rivers. The vacuum excavation company covers territory beyond the edge of the postcard, in transit between acreage estates, landfill sites and, to cite one specific account, the Stradbroke Islands Ferry, where it rides the barge to the community of holiday houses that need servicing every holiday season when the homes, having gone unoccupied for months on end, are suddenly overpopulated by big family gatherings. Septic storage like celebrations often reach a limit.
Lee’s Environmental also attends to the fleet of barges operating from the mainland to Stradbroke and other Bay Islands. Depending on the vessel in question, each has an onboard sewage system, usually installed with a macerator, which breaks down the waste before its pumped out.
Seeking new efficiencies in the area of suction excavation, Lee’s Environmental purchased a state-of-the-art industrial pump from Italian manufacturer Jurop. While blower pumps are not uncommon in the liquid waste market, the Helix 2000 can load its 10,000 litre tanks in just two minutes. The investment hastened, in turn, an infrastructure response and a new model Fuso Heavy FS Series was added to its fleet of 30 commercial vehicles, for the specific purpose of transporting the new equipment according to company Director Peter Sprague.
“For the last seven years we worked a Fuso 8×4 with a vacuum tank for high pressure drain cleaning and it hasn’t missed a beat,” he says. “It’s been a fabulous truck. We had to build another one because sometimes it’s got to be in two places at once.”
A longer wheelbase was necessary, making an 8×4 configuration as Peter tells it, a prerequisite. As Fuso supports a body length of 8.3 metres, Daimler Trucks in Brisbane was approached for the job of engineering the tank and vacuum. Body builder, Air and Gas Industries, based in Wacol, liaised directly with Daimler on the cab chassis design and with Jurop in Italy through their Australian agent. The process lasted over a year.
“We had no qualms about whether Air and Gas had the capabilities to do the job having worked with them on several previous occasions,” says Peter. “They had to get the weight up and the right balance between the twin-steer at the front and the bogey tri-axle at the back. We’ve had it in operation for a few weeks and it’s now being seen in the marketplace and starting to earn us some money.”