Pumping for Patients: Tying Septic Work to Philanthropy

This Classy Truck is busy pumping septics while raising money for cancer care programs
Pumping for Patients: Tying Septic Work to Philanthropy
Northern Disposal & Sanitation's all-black Peterbilt pumper truck is nicknamed Miss Nikki.

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Promotion is paramount in the portable sanitation business — and for Northern Disposal & Sanitation of Katrine, Ontario, the owners have put their money where their mouth is by pairing up a Classy Truck with a worthy cause.

Not only does a shiny, all-black 2007 Peterbilt 335 truck promote its business — it also acts as a moving billboard for the work the company does in supporting cancer care programs. Owners Dave and Katy McGregor call it Pumping for Patients.                                                                      

The Ontario company, which they started in 2007, has 550 portable restroom units, all blue with yellow roofs made by PolyJohn Canada. But a few years ago, the McGregors diversified their color scheme by adding pink portables (40 units from PolyJohn), specially colored to indicate the company’s support of cancer prevention and research.

Katy McGregor’s brother died of cancer. In fact, she notes, about half of her family has succumbed to the disease. So the family felt a strong pull toward the cause, and that pull got even stronger when a small hospital in their town was shuttered.

“We felt firsthand how that felt losing our little hospital. We wanted to try to make a difference,” McGregor says. “All our clients are making a difference by choosing us. Every time we pump a septic, we give a $10 donation. Every time you rent a pink restrooms, it’s a $5 donation.” In the past three years, the McGregors have donated more than $15,000 to the Huntsville Hospital Foundation Business Cares initiative.

The Classy Truck

Three years ago, they purchased their all-black Peterbilt, named Miss Nikki after the couple’s 11-year-old daughter. Built out by Vacutrux Limited with a 4,300-gallon carbon steel tank and 500 cfm 1054 Wallenstein Vacuum pump, the truck is powered by a Caterpillar 330 hp C7 engine tied to a Fuller 8LL transmission from Eaton Vehicle Group.

Most distinctive about the truck, however, is the pink lettering and bevy of colorful ribbons painted on the side, representing the many different cancers. The striking graphics were painted by Hypervision Signs of Muskoka, Ontario, which offered Northern Disposal & Sanitation a discounted rate.

In addition, the truck has a 4-inch inlet and 6-inch outlet, a 24-inch top-side manway and 36-inch rear manway, diamond plate hose trays, aluminum wheels, chrome accents including visor and bug deflector, three sight glasses, full-locking rear end and air-ride suspension. The interior features AC and power windows.

In addition to Miss Nikki, they also own a second septic truck, a 1997 GMC 8500 2,200-imperial gallons with carbon steel tank and Wallenstein Vacuum pump.

Northern Disposal & Sanitation’s fleet also include a 2001 3500 Chevrolet with 250-gallon waste and 120-gallon freshwater tank, 2008 5500 Dodge with a 350-gallon waste and 200-gallon freshwater tank, 2009 Ford F-550 with a 400-gallon waste and 225-gallon freshwater tank, and 2001 Ford F-550 with a 350-gallon waste and 200-gallon freshwater tank.

All tanks are hot-dip galvanized steel from Vacutrux Limited and feature Wallenstein Vacuum pumps by Elmira Machine Industries in a nearby community. Going local is important to the McGregors, who say that 75 percent of their business relies on northern Ontario and Muskoka companies to provide services and products to their company.

Rounding out the fleet are three Explorer Trailers from McKee Technologies that carry six, 10 and 12 units. The six- and 12-size trailers are galvanized steel.

While their trucks include Dodge, Ford and Chevrolet — those were available when they were purchased used — Dave McGregor says he’s now a Dodge loyalist.

All their trucks were bought used, but all tanks were bought new, and Dave McGregor is especially pleased with the galvanized steel. “It makes them last almost forever,” he says, adding that they’re especially important in the cold Canadian winters, where his company also uses a salt brine.

“You can’t tell the difference from the inside and outside of the tanks,” he says. “That’s how good the galvanized steel is.”

Pumping for Patients is only one of the charitable programs Northern Disposal & Sanitation is involved in. Katy McGregor also mentors through local women’s groups and has also worked the Table Soup Kitchen Foundation, which helps hungry, homeless, and hurting individuals.

“Dave and I want to be role models not only in our industry but in our community and surrounding communities,” McGregor says. “It’s so rewarding to give a donation.”


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