Fuel Spill Cleanup for Clean Harbors

After searching for a transportation broker they felt could complete the project, Clean Harbors hired KCH Transportation as the exclusive transportation provider to develop and execute a comprehensive solution...
July 27, 2021

Client Profile

Clean Harbors is the recognized North American leader in environmental and industrial services. Their customer base serves a wide array of industries and government agencies, as well as the majority of Fortune 500 companies.

Founded in 1980, the company specializes in end-to-end hazardous waste management, emergency spill response, industrial cleaning and maintenance, recycling services and more. Through its Safety-Kleen subsidiary, Clean Harbors is also North America’s largest re-refiner and recycler of used oil and a leading provider of environmental services to commercial, industrial, and automotive companies.

Clean Harbors is headquartered in Massachusetts and operates throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Client Need

Story City, a small community in the center of the Iowan heartland, suffered a fuel spill in a local pond. The cause of the spill was unknown, but the dangerous ramifications to the local people, marine life, animals, flora, and the environment were clear.

Clean Harbors took on the task of cleaning up the fuel spill. To accomplish this goal, they needed to quickly, efficiently, and safely pump the contaminated water out of the pond and transport it to a local water treatment facility to be sanitized.

Other tasks also needed to be carried out to ensure successful completion of the project, such as security clearances for the tanker drivers, coordination of the work crew schedules, and security protocols.

Adding to the challenge was the current freezing November temperatures, which threatened to impede the successful and efficient removal of the affected water.

“When we first heard about the project, we understood the immediate action required to fix this situation, as well as the importance of prioritizing public worker health and safety. Our team knew the challenges and felt confident that we were the professionals who could get the job done.” – Jason Whitten, President, KCH Transportation


After searching for a transportation broker they felt could complete the project, Clean Harbors hired KCH Transportation as the exclusive transportation provider to develop and execute a comprehensive solution that would help the organization fulfill its mission.

Tyler Muth, KCH’s in-house Logistics Manager, took the lead on this critical project and quickly pulled together the necessary resources to ensure the project’s completion.

He first matched Clean Harbors’ needs with our trusted partner Sully Transport, a tanker carrier that operates out of nearby Sully, IA. From there, Tyler began to coordinate with the other parties involved for the seamless execution of KCH’s water transport strategy.

Tyler and his team worked tirelessly to pull the project’s many moving parts together, including:

  • Providing security clearance for drivers contracted to deliver contaminated pond water to the treatment facility
  • Managing 8 to 12 loads per day, seven days per week until the pond was clear of contaminated water
  • Ensuring drivers are working under the House of Service guidelines, including adequate rest between shifts
  • Coordinating driver schedules through weekdays, weekends, and holidays
  • Assisting with freeze protection measures so water could be efficiently pumped out of the pond on an ongoing basis
  • Collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure openness, transparency, and continued progress
  • Internal project management tasks such as processing purchase orders for billing and other duties

The key to the operation’s success was to ensure that all the key parts operated in tandem despite cold winter working conditions. Tyler and his team did their part to collaborate with the other contractors by staying focused on what was required to complete the project successfully.

“This was a complex job, but Tyler and his team worked hard to develop a solution that supported the Clean Harbors mission. Much depended on the efficient removal and transport of the contaminated water to let any inefficiencies get in the way. By collaborating seamlessly with everyone, the operation proceeded and concluded as planned.” – Jason Whitten, President, KCH Transportation


Upon project completion, a total of 300 tank loads of water totaling 2 million gallons had been transported safely by the KCH team. The pond was returned to its naturally healthy state for the community of Story City to enjoy once again.

Thanks to Tyler and his crew of KCH professionals, Clean Harbors had another success story under their belt, furthering their mission to provide emergency spill response to American businesses and communities.

“We’re proud of the work we do at KCH Transportation. When we can help a great organization such as Clean Harbors earn a win, we consider it a win for us too.” – Jason Whitten, President, KCH Transportation