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29-Aug-2023

GFL’s ER team is always ready to answer the call

field covered in snow a misty cold day in Sweden

GFL’s highly adept ER teams are prepared to deal with any emergency 24/7, 365 days a year – and that includes working in temperatures ranging from scorching heat to sub-zero cold.

Last summer, GFL’s Oklahoma team played a major role in mitigating and containing a large oil spill near Cushing, Oklahoma.

The latest large-scale oil spill they responded to occurred during the frigid Kansas winter.

“GFL employees had to leave their families over the holidays to work 12-hour shifts in -30 degree temperatures and blizzard conditions in the middle of nowhere,” said Ryan Fruendt, vice president of Liquids’ Industrial North Central division. “It takes a great team of dedicated people who have gelled together to make it all possible.”

In mid-December 2022, Lew Shideler, industrial branch manager in Cushing, received a call from a contractor GFL had worked with on the Oklahoma incident. Thanks to the professionalism and expertise with which GFL handled the previous spill, the call was a request for GFL’s services to assist with a large spill in Kansas.

The Kansas spill impacted a creek that ran through acres of cornfields. The GFL team immediately rounded up 20 employees but had to ramp up to 90 people within a week. Due to the size of the spill, GFL brought in some good subcontractors who had helped with the Oklahoma spill and were pleased to join forces again with the GFL team.

GFL employees from industrial service centers located in Oklahoma, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Canada also responded to the spill.

These employees came from diverse professional backgrounds. Together, they brought their specialized knowledge of railroads, hazardous waste, vac trucks, pipe laying, engineering or accounting, and worked together to create a solution for every challenge that arose.

“We’ve got some fantastic people that came through for us in a difficult situation,” Shideler said. “It was a total group effort.”

Crews experienced a 100-degree Fahrenheit temperature difference between conditions at the Oklahoma spill and the Kansas one.

“We took proactive measures to ensure the safety of our teams,” Fruendt confirmed. “We dealt with extreme elements in both spills, but we took proper precautions. With PPE, heating tents and anything else the crew needed, we had a fantastic safety record on both spills.”

Whatever situation awaits on the other end of the line, GFL is always ready to provide best-in-class emergency response solutions that include full environmental management and sustainable disposal options.

“A spill is far from a good thing but we get called out to help remedy a very bad situation for our customers,” Fruendt said. “Thanks to the professionalism, training and experience of our ER team, we’re able to respond to whatever situation we’re called out on.”

Shideler agreed and acknowledged that it takes people who are truly dedicated to do this work. In addition to the field teams, the pair also recognize the vital contributions of dedicated support personnel who take care of areas like accounting, purchasing and customer service.

“In this line of work, you have to be passionate about what you do,” Shideler said. “We care and that’s why we provide the best service possible. We’re always willing to answer that phone whenever it rings.”

To learn more about our Emergency Response Services and to contact us, click here.

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