Duke’s Surpasses 200 Million Feet Of Root Control

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | May 2013, Vol. 68 No. 5

One day last March, a Duke’s Root Control crew achieved a significant milestone when it applied root treatment chemicals to the company’s 200 millionth foot of sewer pipe.

The moment passed quickly and without a pause in the day’s work to mark the event. In fact, the crew wasn’t aware they had just set a significant company record.

Knowing the significant milestone soon would be achieved, Duke’s President Mike Hogan said the decision was made to take a low-key approach to the achievement.

“It’s not that we don’t take pride in the accomplishment,” said Hogan. “Everyone knew we were closing in on the record and we made an announcement within the company soon after it happened. But we purposely did not highlight the time, location and crew that passed the invisible 200-million-foot line.”

Hogan said it is important to put the milestone in perspective with the company’s total body of work.

“We believe that the first foot of pipe we treated more than 35 years ago and every foot treated since then is equally important with foot number 200 million,” he explained. “We know we could never have achieved this record if it were not for years of successful treatments performed by employees, past and present, and the loyal customers we serve. And when we reached the 200 million foot threshold, we immediately began to focus on achieving the next big milestone.”

Based in Syracuse, NY, Duke’s Root Control’s predecessor was founded during the aftermath of World War II, installing plumbing and heating for schools and public buildings. In 1960, Duke’s branched off into municipal sewer cleaning and rehabilitation, and in 1979 the company decided to specialize in applying herbicides to control roots in municipal sewer systems.

Today, Duke’s state certified application crews use specialized equipment to fill root-infested sewer pipes with thick herbicidal foam. No jet trucks or other potentially damaging equipment are used. Roots inside and outside the pipe walls are killed on contact and decay naturally and slough off. A Duke’s root control program prevents root re-growth for three to 5 years.

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“Duke’s uses Razorooter II, the only diquat-based herbicide registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for controlling nuisance tree roots in sanitary sewer line collection systems,” Hogan said. “It has a classification of ‘evidence non-carcinogenicity for humans’ (USEPA Diquat R.E.D. Facts, July 1995) and trees and other above ground vegetation are not harmed.”

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