Here’s a little video where Ed talks about how strategic planning and proactive involvement help keep Dutton Stormwater’s team on focus and thinking ahead.
As we near the conclusion of quarter one of 2022 I would like to reach out to our customers and thank them for working with us during this outbreak. It has been a period of growth in both staff and turnover. It has also been a period of adjustment for our company.
One of our measures of how happy our customers are is the number of compliments our team get. For the last two months we have been receiving almost a compliment per day – which must be a good sign!
Thank you for keeping our spirits high!
Working smart in a pandemic
We have created a staggered start system where we have the ops crew working in “bubbles”, and the office is split into two, to avoid the risk of Omicron decimating our whole organization. Everyone, to a person, is working hard to be positive and do whatever they can to keep the business functioning.
Our services are still in high demand and we are ahead our workflow target for 2022 to date. Our operations crew continues to forge on bravely, despite feeling the effects of Omicron in this department. As hard as we try, we are getting positive cases, but work is still being done.
We work weekends too
At the beginning of this year we created a weekend call-out system. We have an administration person rostered on every weekend, and we a driver who can come and resolve your problem. Please call us if you have an issue on the weekend! We will sort it.
Welcoming new staff
We have taken the time to employ three outstanding people who will join us over the next three months. We will put pictures up of these individuals as they start. I am confident they will help grow our business and they will understand the responsibility that lies on their shoulders to make this company better than when they started.
Thank you to our wonderful people
Once again, I want to thank the amazing team that is Dutton Stormwater for the hard work they are doing. I want to thank them for the constant adjustments they must make. I understand your frustrations. We have come through tougher times than this, and we will come through this with our heads held high, and another knot in our story which makes us the special company we are.
In a year characterised by change, our company has understood the importance of providing as much certainty as possible. This certainty provides a level of comfort for customers, suppliers and most importantly for staff. We have aimed to do this by shattering all norms and benchmarking ourselves, with ourselves! These are the commitments we made:
- We have committed to our staff by promising to keep them at all costs.
- We have committed to our customers that we will be completely up to date by Christmas Eve.
- Our crew have committed to our country’s safety by all becoming vaccinated.
We have provided as much clarity to the crew as early as we could on what we would be asking of them when they got back to work. We have placed our trust and confidence in each other understanding that we are in this together and this is an opportunity for us to defy the odds again.
Finally, we have been honest with all our stakeholders – staff, banks, customers, and suppliers. I want to thank the staff, and our wonderful customers for persevering with us this year. We have grown.
Part of this growth has been personal for our crew. We have implemented our Legacy Programme where we have divided ourselves into groups and discussed James Kerr’s book, Legacy. This book discusses leadership lessons from the most successful sports team in the world. This book has fifteen lessons in leadership which we discuss on a Wednesday morning after our Wellness Wednesday. One of the enduring messages I have taken from this book has been to be a good ancestor. James Kerr’s description of Whakapapa is beautiful:
He suggests we are all standing arm in arm with our ancestors going in one direction and our future generations going in the other. “At this present moment, the sun is shining on us. However, the sun will set on our time, and we need to ensure that we have left this place in a better state than we found it.”
Apart from our own personal growth, we are on track to have grown by 10% from this time last year.
With this growth and Auckland’s unitary plan we have seen the need to have a vehicle that can suck and clean in low car parks. Hence the arrival of Trailer Trash. This 2000l vacuum unit fitted with a water-blaster has a height of 1.85m and is towed easily behind a Ute.
Carbon Neutrality by 2030
We have also set ourselves the ambitious goal of our company being carbon neutral by 2030. To this end we have replaced two of our combustion engines with electric vehicles. Our plan is to convert all our utility vehicles by 2025. From 2025 to 2030 we will embark on converting the trucks to a carbon neutral option.
We are also very proud to support Sustainable Coastlines, and really enjoyed our first coastline clean up as a team alongside Sustainable Coastlines and the local community. (Photo above).
New team members
We have introduced new staff who have made a major difference in our team.
- Edwin Tugadi is a new vacuum truck driver for us, and he brings a wealth of experience from Christchurch.
- Orlando Segarra is our new technician, and he brings experience, strong work ethic and intelligence to our company.
- Mahdi Hafzi is our new technician who is resilient, consistent and a hard worker.
- We have also managed to get Mike Beeston back out of hiding and he is now here doing what he does best, driving a large truck!
- Amy Pervan is our phenomenal accounts assistant who has brought a wealth of experience, and extremely high standards. She is so efficient and has been a massive help to Claire.
We have introduced a new ritual whereby staff who come on board with us are officially presented with their Dutton Stormwater hoodies after they have been with us for two months. They are now part of our story, and it is their responsibility to leave the hoodie in a better place than it was.
Highlights of 2021
One of the highlights for 2021 was the light Dutton Stormwater shone on the Stormwater Conference in Tauranga. We made our presence felt. On the night of the dinner, I took the time to stand back and marvel at our table. We had 10 of the most interesting, brilliant people I know talking about stormwater, and I felt proud. I think it shows in this photo with Gillian Blythe, Water NZ’s CEO.
We have also celebrated a resilient year with our company Christmas party, hosted with home cooked food at our home, organised by Claire and with the food served by a beautiful catering team of Dutton Stormwater children!
We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and rejuvenating holiday!
Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard for us this year. Thank you to my daughters who support me, and most importantly, thank you to Kate for the enduring support and love you give me.
I am blessed.
Dutton Stormwater is not afraid of tackling challenging jobs and from April through to June 2021, we embarked on a massive one, by cleaning the three soakage tunnels running under central Auckland.
The task to clean 265m of underground tunnels was extremely demanding – not only physically, but logistically, and health & safety wise. Each day the crew had to dig, shovel and vacuum sediment, that in some areas was up to 1.5m deep, leaving them little more than crawling space to move.
- MELVILLE TUNNEL
- 270 hours,
- 18,400kgs waste removed
- KING GEORGE TUNNEL
- 758.5 hours,
- 84,500kgs waste removed
- GILLIES TUNNEL
- 48 hours,
- 14,720 kgs of waste removed
In total the job took more than 1076.5 hours to complete and a whopping 117.62 tonnes of sediment was removed.
Total amount of stormwater waste that we removed and was kept out of the ocean from Jan 2021 to November 2021 was 1455 tonnes – equal to approximately 50 humpback whales.
To acknowledge and publicly recognise the commitment of our customers to Responsible Stormwater Management, and to raise awareness of the importance of stormwater system maintenance, we have created the Stormwater Responsible badge.
This badge will be awarded to customers who demonstrate responsible stormwater practices by regularly maintaining their stormwater systems. Companies can then use this to show their own customers and the community they are doing their part to minimise contamination of our waterways.
To qualify, customers of Dutton Stormwater must have performed regular stormwater maintenance on their existing devices for at least two years, and/or have committed to two year’s scheduled maintenance on all stormwater devices going forward.
To discuss further, or if you already qualify and would like to be awarded the badge, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of our initiative to educate our community and increase awareness of how important stormwater maintenance is to preserving clean waterways, the Dutton Stormwater team visited St Marys Primary School.
Around 50 children got to hear our Director Ed Dutton explain what our role is in helping protect the waterways and environment around New Zealand, then our crew demonstrated a Cess Pit service with the Vacuum Truck.
It’s always refreshing speaking with children and watching curious minds at work. It was great to see how quickly the students grasped why it is important not to drop rocks or rubbish in a Cess Pit. We found the trip very worthwhile, with our time well invested in these future custodians of Auckland.
Ed is looking forward to visiting more customer schools this winter and meeting more young people with a desire to look after our planet.
Dutton Stormwater were proud to be the Conference Partner Sponsor at this great event in Tauranga, lead by Water New Zealand. Our team enjoyed meeting professionals across the Stormwater industry including some great new contacts and our fantastic customers.
As one of only two Stormwater Maintenance companies amongst many manufacturers, innovators, consultants and Council teams, we focused on creating greater awareness around the importance of maintaining Stormwater Devices regularly so they can perform as the manufacturers intended, and effectively protect our environment.
Our booth showcased our model Vacuum Truck which was a popular talking point. We were impressed with the efforts of our in-house Engineer and Designer, Richard Strang, who designed and built the 1:7 scale working model from scratch in just three weeks. The truck was displayed on a custom-made stand which together with our booth was developed by our friends at Big Ideas. It showcased pumping of the water from cesspits and stormwater drains to the truck. This was an outstanding event, and we look forward to meeting everyone again next year in Christchurch.
What is a cess pit?
Cess pits are the unsung heroes of the stormwater world! Everything flows to the cess pits. Cess pits are primarily used for onsite containment, collection and treatment. A cess pit or catch pit is a stormwater treatment device comprised of three key elements – a grate, a small sediment trap, and a siphon on the outlet.
We’ve gathered some information on how cess pits work for you to help illustrate why great cess pit maintenance is essential for effective performance and protection of our waterways.
How does a cess pit work?
- A cess pit collects rainwater through the grate.
- The solid material the water has picked up on the way to the pit will fall out of suspension and settle down to collect on the bottom of the trap.
- The clean water will drain through the siphon and out into the stormwater network.
Who owns a cess pit and whose responsibility is it to maintain it?
- Cess pits on the road usually belong to the council. They will have a contractor who will be responsible for maintaining them, which may be us.
- Cess pits on a private car park or building will belong to the land owner and they will be responsible for making sure the cess pit is maintained by a stormwater maintenance company.
Why should I ensure regular cess pit maintenance?
There are two really great reasons to ensure cess pit maintenance is regular and professionally done.
- To avoid the risk of blockages and flooding. Noone wants storm water backing up and spilling over because of a blocked cess pit.
- To ensure sediment doesn’t build up until it is high enough to get stirred up by stormwater flow and transferred out of the pit back into the stormwater network… and eventually into our ocean.
When should I get a company to maintain my cess pits?
- Cess pits need to be serviced annually at a minimum to ensure they are clean enough to function effectively and to prevent overflow.
- We pride ourselves on working with property owners to ensure they have the optimum frequency of maintenance for the servicing – for the environment; and for the customer’s budget.
What should I do if I think my cess pits need maintenance, or I don’t know when they were last serviced?
It’s really simple – just call us to come and have a look at them and we will give you a free, no-obligation quote.
Please do not try to do this yourself. There are thousands of bacteria living on the lids and inside them, which can pose a serious health risk to anyone apart from trained stormwater maintenance professionals. Also, the lids are designed to be extremely heavy and one needs to know how to lift the lid, and have the correct equipment.
How can I do more?
To improve on the performance of a well maintained cess pit, and avoid unforseeable issues caused by rubbish, we can install a LittaTrap inside your cess pits. As the name suggests, a LittaTrap works to keep all litter out of the pit and out of the stormwater network, helping ensure that your stormwater system remains high functioning and clear, releasing only clean water to our local harbours.
How is a Cess Pit cleaned?
Our team use a Vacuum truck (or our low height vacuum trailer if required) to suck all the sludge and sediment out of the cess pit, along with all the particles and pollutants in the sediment – leaving only clean water in the cess pit.
Cess Pit before maintenance
2020 for Dutton Stormwater ended with a marvelous orange celebration held in the Sustainable Coastlines facility on Hammer Street. Starting with champagne in the park, then a bus-ride into town, we mingled and chatted before sitting down for a beautiful meal followed by our traditional giant WIFLE.
I discussed how successful 2020 had been for us as a company. I have six success indicators – if these are greater than the previous year, I consider the year a success. These are more:
Joy . Health and happiness . Wealth . Faith . Wisdom . Gratitude
This year our People’s Choice Award went to the unbelievable Sonny Chan.
The Directors Award for the Employee of the year went to Charles Roskilley who has been a rock for our company for over four years, and continues to set the standard four our Vacuum Truck Division.
Goals for 2021
- We will begin on a long-term strategy towards zero emissions by 2030 with an all-electric fleet.
- We will aim to invest in a little short ‘sucker’ who can easily enter low car parks.
- We have ordered our “Trailer Trash” vac-truck which will go where other trucks cannot go.
- We will grow Wellness Wednesday and Marvelous Magical Mondays to become part of our company culture. We do what we say we are going to do to look after our staff.
- We will have an Advisory Board of Directors to assist with strategy.
- We will begin our Central Auckland maintenance contract.
- We will continue to deliver to the largest and smallest customers all over New Zealand.
And one over-arching goal – Even more focus on accuracy
Being the best stormwater maintenance company in New Zealand is a challenge we have all accepted. With that challenge comes demanding standards.
We have opted for an overarching goal of becoming even more ACCURATE in 2021.
This strategy will permeate our entire business and will contribute to the growth and success of our company for this year. I would like to advise my staff to all brace themselves for another colossal chapter in growth of Dutton Stormwater Maintenance Ltd.
It is with great pride that I announce that on the 2nd of November we will unleash a crew on the South Island, enabling us to provide better service than ever for our South Island clients.
Many of our national customers have been wondering when this was going to happen. In October last year I committed to sending a crew to the South Island in 2020. We are going.
The redoubtable Yannick will be the Commander in Chief of our team for the South, and we will have crew coming and going each week to work with him.
This side of our business can only grow in the future and I am excited to see where this will lead us as a business. I want to personally thank Conrad and Andrea for the mountain of work they have done preparing the way for us. It is now over to Michelle and her team to make it happen!
Very exciting times.