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MACED logoMountain Association for Community Economic Development
Enterprise Development Forestry Research and Policy How$martKY™ Energy Efficient Enterprises

benefiting the environment while creating jobs—
dirty work septic service

 

November 2009

 

Dirty Work Septic Service in Martin County, Kentucky provides portable toilets, septic pumping and septic system installation in five Appalachian Kentucky counties as well as parts of Virginia and West Virginia. The idea for the business came to founder Donnie Fletcher in 2003. As assistant manager of a supply company in eastern Kentucky, Donnie was responsible for getting portable toilets delivered to mine sites. Consistently, there were problems with getting the portable toilets serviced properly.

 

The need for adequate sewer systems and services in Appalachia is long-standing and is addressed in the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Strategic Plan, 2005–2010. Thirty-one percent of all rivers, creeks and streams in Kentucky have fecal coliform pollution resulting from untreated sewage reaching the waterways. Straight pipes and malfunctioning septic tanks are the primary culprits. MACED took on the issue of straight pipes, which dump untreated sewage directly into creeks and other waterways, with its North Fork Clean Water Project.

 

“I saw a need and it seemed like a great fit,” says Donnie. “I knew I wanted to start a business that was service-oriented, which didn’t experience a lot of highs and lows in demand, and which did not require a lot of money to get started. It was a perfect fit.”

 

A loan of $61,000 from MACED allowed Donnie to pay off the bills he had accumulated in starting his business and free up revenue coming in to purchase equipment. In addition to the loan capital, Loan Officer Regina Becknell also provided extensive one-on-one technical assistance.

 

“Regina helped me develop my business plan and look at the bottom line to see if it would work. She guided me to numbers that made sense,” says Donnie. “MACED really helped me get on my feet.”

 

Donnie recently became certified to install septic tanks in addition to servicing them. The company has expanded from servicing mine sites to special events, construction sites, residential areas and school districts. And Regina recently helped Donnie get registered on the Central Contractor Registration database so he can pursue federal contracts.

 

Dirty Work Septic now has six employees, and Donnie’s goal is to create more jobs in the future that would include health benefits and retirement.

 

“I’ve known since I was in middle school that I wanted to own my own business. I just wanted a different life financially than the one I experienced as kid. A few months ago I was servicing a local store when my former teacher pulled up. She said ‘I remember when you were in sixth grade and you said you’d be a business owner. I knew you were serious about it then. And now here you are today!’” Says Donnie, “That was a pretty proud day for me.”