Apr 9, 2008

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This company handles maintenance needs for all commercial water and wastewater entities.

Bio Tech Environmental Services is owned by Utilities, Inc., one of the largest privately owned water and wastewater utilities in the nation. Utilities, Inc. owns hundreds of utilities, primarily throughout the Midwest and southeastern states.

With offices and operations in Columbia, S.C., and Charlotte, N.C., Bio Tech Environmental Services is responsible for building and plumbing well houses, laying pipe, and setting tanks.

“We do some new construction — take out old force mains and put in new ones — but most of what we do is rehab work,” said Allen Baker, who does mechanical maintenance for Bio Tech. “We keep well houses running and we repair lines that break. We’re also on call 24 hours a day and seven days a week for emergencies.”

The Columbia Bio Tech Environmental operation services customers from the Columbia area to Georgetown, on the Atlantic coast. Including management personnel, the company employs about three dozen people.

Komatsu compact excavators

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Bio Tech Environmental doesn’t lay miles of large-diameter pipe, so it doesn’t need large equipment — but the company does use utility-size machines for its digging, pipe laying and repair, and cleanup needs. A couple of years ago, when looking for a compact excavator, Bio Tech demo’d three top models including a Komatsu PC35.

“There really was no comparison,” said Baker. “The Komatsu significantly outperformed the other compact excavators. It’s smooth. It’s powerful. It has a high and a low range of gears, which I like. And something we really appreciate is a four-way blade, which angles to the right or left and makes it much easier to cover ditches back up.”

“I really like the PC35,” agreed Bio Tech Environmental operator Reymundo Villegas. “It’s a comfortable machine, it runs great, and with the zero tail swing, I can really get into some tight spaces and still have room to work. Best of all, the pivot point for the bucket lets me push material at an angle, rather than just straight ahead.”

Shortly after getting the first PC35, Bio Tech bought a second one, plus a WB140 backhoe loader.

“All three Komatsu utility machines have been bulletproof — no problems whatsoever,” reported Baker. “We probably have more than 3,000 hours on them at this point, and mechanically, it’s all original equipment. Swing-boom cylinders, tracks, everything’s still in good shape.”

Bio Tech also appreciates the dealings it’s had with Linder Industrial Machinery and Sales Representative Matt Caldwell.

Future growth likely

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“Matt’s been great and Linder is very easy to work with,” said Baker. “We’ve never needed any service or major parts because the machines have worked so well. But Linder’s Columbia branch always has the oil, filters and routine items we need and they’ve been helpful in any way we’ve needed them.”

Bio Tech Environmental has been in the Columbia area for almost 20 years, but initially was only involved in sludge removal. It wasn’t until four or five years ago that the company got into the maintenance of water systems.

Bio Tech currently has three “dig crews” operating out of Columbia and Charlotte, N.C. Baker says that number will probably grow to five or six in the coming years.

“Utilities Inc., which operates in 17 states, is the second-largest corporation in the country in the water and wastewater industry. At Bio Tech Environmental, we’re growing and we certainly want to keep growing. That’s the idea for the future. We believe we have a lot to offer our clients and their customers regarding water services.”