The Leaders of Excavation & Demolition Companies
After working for his dad and uncle in their hauling business and graduating from Texas A&M University with a degree in business management, Phillip McCammon knew he wanted to go into the wastewater business. He opened Sheridan Environmental to meet that need.
PICKING THE PRESS
The only problem was that McCammon didn’t know anything about dewatering. He sought to educate himself by visiting several dewatering sites to learn about the equipment and set up. He conducted more research online and ultimately went with a belt press. “I first rented a belt press from Houston to try it out,” says McCammon. “I also worked with a wastewater plant’s centrifuge and found that the belt press is much more forgiving. It’s easier to maintain because of the bearings and something that you can work on yourself. With a centrifuge, you have to be an expert to work on them. So, if it breaks down, you have to wait until they can get someone out to fix it. Belt presses also use less energy.”
“The mechanical pressure squeezes water off,” says McCammon. “If the flows are high enough, I think the belt press is the way to go. A dewatering box has its place but they are messy and not worth it for us. I’m intrigued by the screw presses. I haven’t operated one yet, but I’ve seen them in action. They get sludge very dry but they are slow and not simple to maintain. It just comes down to the needs of the plant.”
His first customer was a small suburban town with a centrifuge, but it was too small to meet their growing population. McCammon bought an Envirex belt press at a surplus auction in New Jersey, refurbished it, mounted it to a trailer and took it to the wastewater treatment plant to fill the gap. His first company, Sheridan Environmental, offers mobile dewatering to area wastewater plants.
“Once a city gets to a certain size, it makes sense to dewater,” he says. “If it’s a 50,000 gallon a day plant then it isn’t economical, but when they get to the 250,000 to 500,000 gallon mark, then they need to have a company come in and haul it off or put in dewatering equipment on site.
McCammon and his team keep track of area wastewater plants and their expansion plans. “We talk to management and discuss their sludge management,” he adds. “We’ll sit down together and see if it makes sense for them to spend $500,000 on equipment. It depends on the amount of sludge and how much storage capacity they have.
“One of our local cities only does 180,000 gallons a day of raw sewage but they have a lot of storage. They fill digesters and we come in three times a year, dewater it and haul it off. The press stays there on site until the job is done. We continually swap out the full roll off boxes because we control the house system. Our dispatcher, operator and haulers work together to make it seamless.”
McCammon and his team of 22 employees, which also includes his dad and his sister, find solutions for area plants to help them with their needs and it is has kept them busy.
Each roll off box contains 20 yards of dewatered material. On a daily basis, they process about 150,000 gallons of sludge through the press, which is approximately six boxes. When it goes through, it is usually around 2 to 2.5 percent solid, when it comes out, it is around 18 percent solid. Then they take it to their composting site to recycle it into soil amendment fertilizer.
The fertilizer is then sold wholesale to landscape supply companies and to Texas Department of Transportation for erosion control. It is high in nitrogen and iron which is good for new grass.
McCammon’s dewatering business has grown into four businesses to control the entire process to ensure quality control in each area. “Each business was started for a reason and based on a need,” says McCammon. “But it all started with Sheridan Environmental and McCammon’s ingenious mobile method.”
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