Some people think that working in the IT department of Tardis Environmental is a warm and glamorous job sitting in a comfortable office, foamy latte at one’s side knocking out articles like this.
The septic tank was 130 metres from the tanker
You may also wonder why, when cosseted in such ways, one has a hard hat, safety boots and assorted PPE paraphernalia thrust at one with the instruction to meet a tanker at a quarter to six on a frosty February morning.We can now reveal, our mission was to cover one of the more unusual challenges set us by our clients, in this case a septic tank empty out in the field, literally !
Our first job of the day was at an equestrian centre in the beautifully scenic Cotswolds close to Stow on the Wold, in the grounds of a majestic manor house.
Definitely green welly and Barbour country, except for myself and Ade, our Tardis tanker captain who knowing he was going to be on camera, had his hair done special.
Our waste tankers like any vehicle on the fleet, carry enough hose to enable them to complete most tasks they encounter on a daily basis. In this case, the tank we were looking to service was approximately 130 metres away from where we could safely park the tanker on the perimeter of an extremely muddy and churned up field.
The job had been assessed prior to our arrival where we met with the estate manager who kindly gave us permission to photograph the job and so, Ade set about getting very muddy, laying the pipework he had on the tanker.But surely you hadn’t enough to reach the tank we hear you cry and you’d be right, which is why the Tardis service van met us on site bringing the extra pipework we needed.
This is where it gets perilous (or funny, depending on which way you look at it).
Mud mud, glorious mud
As photographer, I had to cross the field so I could get some stills and video footage of the lain pipework from the location of the tank which needed emptying, looking back towards the tanker.Sticking to the green less churned up parts of the field, I was doing reasonably well only getting thick clumps of mud on the bottom of my safety shoes. Then, spludge, my left foot went into some softer mud ankle deep and as I tried to pull it out, there was a sound similar to a spoon being pulled from a bowl of jelly and I felt that whilst my foot was coming out, my shoe wasn’t. This in turn made me lose my balance (which I regained) and I managed to remove foot and shoe from the mire complete, but now encrusted with about two pounds of thick brown Cotswold clag.
I finally made it to the tank, cussing like someone with a bad case of Tourettes, garnering strange looks from some of the four legged residents who’d ambled over to the perimeter fence to take a closer look at what we “hoomans” were doing in their field.
The job was completed with alacrity (on Ade’s part at least). A grateful client signed the Tran Send PAD which beams back a “job complete” message to Tardis HQ and off we set on a series of less quaggy but equally important welfare tank empties on construction sites back in the Black Country. We also had a clean water fill for a welfare cabin for flushing purposes. Tardis tankers have a section reserved for clean water for such a purpose so we can leave a welfare cabin fully operative for those important “ahem” jobs.
Later at the sewage works
Of course, when a tanker gets full of the unmentionable, it has to be disposed of legally and ethically, so our final port of call was at one of many local water authority depots Tardis is licensed to use.
Main observation of the sewage works was how clean and unsmelly it was. There are bays for tankers to pull into, hoses are connected, discharge is identified and logged by use of electronic fobs and the tanker discharges into specially constructed pipework to transport the waste material into the main authority treatment works. There’s even a facility to give the tanker a wash down, allowing us to emerge back onto the highway with our shiny orange and green pristine Tardis livery gleaming in the afternoon sun.
We’re currently working on several video projects which will be featured on our social media platforms soon highlighting the diversity of services we provide as an environmental company.
Here’s the link to our video of this job https://youtu.be/u20vq2GfXu8
Also, we aim to clean up at next year’s BAFTAs.