For the first few years David Plumb & Co Ltd was run from a semi-detached house in Coulsdon. Then, in 1971, he and his family took over the tenancy of a service station in Lower Kingswood, Surrey. While continuing to run the forecourt as a going concern, hosting a car sales and repair operation, and even selling second hand furniture, its large amount of land and out-buildings provided room for the tank cleaning vehicles and equipment. In 1987 David’s daughter Kathy joined the business followed by her brother Nigel in 1991. When David retired, these siblings took over as directors, along with long-time employee John Moore.
Says Nigel Plumb:
“Over the years, the size of the tanks we work on has expanded. We have used the skills we gained working on service areas to clean and/or remove tanks up to 5,000,000 litres, carrying out work for power companies and the MOD in locations as far away as the Falklands.” At the other end of the spectrum, DP FTS has expanded into cleaning, removing and installing domestic and commercial heating oil tanks. One of its diversifications is the offering of ultrasound testing, which detects if tanks are thinning in a particular spot, which is likely to lead to a leak in the future. Where leaks have occurred it can deal with decontamination and tank relining, or even site decommissioning and demolition. Says Nigel Plumb: “As you can see, we have, over the years diversified into numerous areas, but these have always been a natural evolution from our roots as a tank cleaning company. Evolution, of course, never stops, and now we are looking at ways of adapting our services still further to meet the constantly changing needs of the industry. “While we will always work on forecourts, our next evolution, over the next 50 years, will be dictated by what the market needs. Our skills have already taken us into areas that no one would not have dreamed of back in 1966. Today, if someone says, ‘Can you do it?’, the answer is usually, ‘Yes we can’.”
Reducing Lorry Queues on M20
DP Fuel Tank Services (DP FTS) has been helping Ashford International Truckstop (AIT) to do its part to help alleviate some of the problems caused by recent channel crossing delays, resulting in lorries having to park on the M20 under Operation Stack. Fuel tank specialist DP FTS was called in by the truck stop to clean seven underground storage tanks on the 25-year-old site, just off junction 10, to create 64 new parking spaces. The full task involved five 53,000 ltr tanks, one 39,000 ltr and one 13,000 ltr tank. All had to be thoroughly cleaned and water sealed, which means they can be safely left in the ground. Before any cleaning could be done, 5000ltr of diesel and gasoil had to be pumped into tankers and DP FTS’s strategic partner TVP had to disconnect all pipework to give DP FTS safe access to the tanks.