Trent Turnham owns and operates two retail petrol stations in Queensland, Australia. The business is a family affair – established by Trent’s father in 2005, he now manages the two sites with his brother Matt. From the beginning, he wanted to take a proactive approach to running the business, including practices around risk management and fuel quality.
Unlike other parts of Australia where Underground Petroleum Storage System (UPSS) compliance is enforced by the EPA, such as New South Wales or Victoria, the retail fuel industry in Queensland is largely left to local councils to manage. As a result, many service station operators take a reactive approach to maintaining their key asset which can lead to environmental risks and fuel quality issues.
Trent has always taken the opposite approach to the business. Rather than wait for a crisis to happen, he was determined to make sure that he was across any potential issues before they became a problem.
“From the beginning, I wanted to be in full control,” he said. “No-one has x-ray vision in terms on what goes on inside a tank and what your fuel quality is like. I wanted to be on top of it – always.”
Trent had been using Statistical Inventory Reconciliation Analysis (SIRA) as a form of leak detection for more than a decade, but he wanted an additional safeguard through groundwater monitoring.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for Trent was finding a company that could provide a full range of UPSS management and fuel quality services, housing all his tank and fuel data, in user-friendly reports, at a competitive price.
Trent engages Leighton O’Brien for all his environmental compliance and fuel quality requirements including fuel sampling, tank cleaning and fuel restoration, SIRA, groundwater monitoring, and tank and line integrity testing.
“If you have a tank leak into the ground, and you’re not doing SIRA and groundwater monitoring, you wouldn’t know that you’re losing product and polluting the environment,” Trent said. “And if your tanks are dirty, the groundwater monitoring results are not in spec and you’ve failed SIRA, you then have to dig up the tank. There’s such big risks and costs involved.”
Leighton O’Brien also helps him keep on top of any maintenance requirements – such as a line integrity test that revealed a potential pump cavitation issue, which could have led to dispensing problems and expensive equipment repairs.
Similarly, regular groundwater monitoring means Trent knows he would be able to respond immediately to a contamination event, as opposed to being notified by the regulator, by which time the site is likely to require costly remediation.
“Because we do regular sampling, we don’t have any issues,” he said. “If there was, we’d know about it before council turns up and says, “We’re going to shut you down until you fix it.”
Trent believes that using Leighton O’Brien’s suite of services ensures that his sites are compliant, his equipment is maintained and his brand is intact, knowing that customers are always being provided with a quality product. He has even displayed previous fuel sampling results inside his stores to help generate customer awareness.
“We’d like to think that customers can fuel up with us and drive away confident knowing that they’ve got clean fuel. They can walk past our noticeboard and see that we’re open about it, that our tanks are clean and our fuel is clean.”
Partnering with Leighton O’Brien to maintain fuel quality is consistent with Trent’s overall philosophy of providing customers with a premium product to uphold the brand.
“The biggest win here is that if I have an issue, it’s going to be picked up by us through Leighton O’Brien – not the media, and not the customer because we’re proactive,” said Trent.
“The team is very professional,” he explained. “Their technology is great, and if you ever have an issue, they’ve got your back because one company has all of your data together. It’s really a no brainer.”
Adding fuel polishing and restoration to our product line through Leighton O’Brien is another valued service to address fuel quality issues. We are extremely pleased with the design and efficiency of the units and provides a professional platform that fits our model well.Chris Biellier, Vice President
Leighton O’Brien is integral to our operation. We trust them to provide tank cleaning, testing and monitoring for our petrol stations around Australia. They are a smart engineering and technology company who I highly recommend.Terry Lunney, Manager – Assets, Facilities, Construction
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