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Jan 01

Monthly Memories 40th Anniversary – Issue 1

Article Source By millerenv

The Humble Beginnings

Established in 1971, Miller Environmental Group, Inc., (MEG) is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2011. MEG has long been a leader in the Environmental Services business dating to its origin in the Marine Support business. Over the past 40 years MEG has evolved from operating in a residential garage to seven branch locations spanning a service territory from Northern Virginia to New England. Consistency and integrity are cornerstones of the company philosophy that have advanced and sustained MEG in the four decades of service to our customers.

MEG prides itself on service integrity, quality and safety in all its efforts. Our customer driven focus has afforded MEG the ability to grow with our customers while continuing to service our very first customer from 40 years ago. Please join us in 2011 as we memorialize many of the memories from the past 40 years. If you have any stories or experiences of working with MEG to share please submit them via our website here.

Thank you to all of our customers and employees for the loyal support.

Then… James Miller Sr. – Founder

MEG’s First Oil Spill Response

On a cold wintery day in January of 1971 onboard the fishing vessel, Lady Barbara, the weather is lousy the fishing is poor, and the morale is low. An oil company located in Port Jefferson, NY (Northville Industries) hailed Jim Miller as he was inbound that they have a problem. The ship at the dock had spilled oil and they needed help in remediating the event. They inform Jim that this is not expected to be a charity event as the ship would be willing to pay for the cleanup. Jim responds that he will assist them but would need guidance as to how. Jim organizes a group of fellow seaman and proceeds to the hardware store to purchase the high tech tools of the day “rakes, shovels and pitchforks”. The known absorbent for cleaning up oil at the time was hay. Jim had a small farm therefore a supply of hay was readily available in the barn. After assembling a workforce they began to open the bales and spread the material on the surface of the water, thereby recovering the oil with the hay. Cold weather, hard work and a week later and the spill was cleaned up. Invoicing was created with the use of a manual typewriter and carbon paper based on a price sheet that was created on yellow tablet paper. After the invoices were created and sent to London and Greece Jim was convinced this was a giant scam and he would never see payment for his efforts. Some two weeks later, in the morning mail, a check from the London Insurers arrived covering the costs of the cleanup with a congratulatory letter of appreciation for the work that had been completed by the highly trained professional team and it read “by releasing the ship in an expedited manner without cumbersome amounts of demurrage you have provided an excellent service”. The letter also went on to state that if any of their ships were ever involved in a similar misfortune in the future they would be confident in contacting the Miller organization to assist in the cleanup because of their professionally trained and highly skilled work force (hard working clam diggers). With the profits from the clean up Jim reinvested in a barn full of hay, new pitchforks, printed price sheets, an electric typewriter, and a new four wheel drive Ford pickup. The true beginning of our company!

Now… George Wallace – V.P. of Business Development

MEG’s Response to Deepwater Horizon Oil 15 Years Of Service

On Monday April 26, 2010 MEG was called upon by Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) to respond to the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. MEG was activated to provide substantial personnel, equipment and materials to support Offshore, Nearshore, and Onshore operations. The BP Deepwater Horizon Oil spill would turn out to be the largest Oil Spill in US history. MEG performed boom deployment and skimming operations in both the Offshore and Nearshore environments as a primary function.

MEG also performed Shoreline Cleanup Operations and participated in a number of technology tests in the differing types of sand that cover the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico. It was most interesting to see that natural products were being considered for certain applications under the appropriate conditions and in late May of 2010 we were again reminded of our early days of cleaning up oil in Port Jefferson, NY when Hay Bales were suggested as a method of absorbing oil. What worked years ago still works today under the correct conditions!

Employee Story Of The Month Jerry Coogan – Regional Manager

19 Years Of Service

It was the middle of February in the early 90’s, and I was working for Con Edison on the FDR promenade in Manhattan maintaining oil boom and a couple of exposed excavations. We were working out of a small surplus office trailer we had in the middle of a City park with nothing and no one around us and they were forecasting one of the worst snow storms in NYC history. Knowing we had to maintain the project, and aware that relief crews could not get to us and we would be stranded for some time we got ourselves a crock pot and groceries for a few days. As predicted we got well over 24” of snow and the city was basically shut down. No one was getting into us and we were not leaving anytime soon.

After about 24 hours we received a call from Jim Davey that we had to find a way to get over to another job site in Manhattan and check on the crew that had the same problem and did not have the luxury of an office trailer or a phone. So off we trekked to try and locate the other site. They were there to maintain the fuel on dewatering pumps that could not be shut down on a very critical underground project. After what took nearly two and a half hours to travel about five miles, we finally located the site and a white mountain that resembled an MEG box truck with no one in sight. We trudged our way through snow drifts to the cab, no one there. We trudged our way around the back and worked our way in the back of the truck and found what can only be described as the entrance to a meat locker with layers and layers of plastic. Peeling back the layers, it got warmer and warmer after each layer. After we peeled back the 5th or 6th layer we discovered what looked more like a room in a hotel then the back of a box truck, complete with television, heat, food, sleeping quarters and Tim Mayer sitting on top of the throne in his castle so warm a t-shirt and jeans were all that he was wearing on this balmy 0° day. When he saw us his reply was “What are you guys doing here? This is no weather to be driving around in, want something to eat or drink?”

It was a very funny sight and very typical of classic MEG ingenuity to use what you have and improvise.


Miller Environmental Group, Inc. (MEG) has been servicing the utility, transportation, petrochemical, insurance, and medical industries throughout the Northeastern United States for over 40 years. Today, MEG has multiple office locations staffed with HAZWOPER/ HAZMAT trained employees specializing in Emergency Spill Response, Industrial Cleaning, and Environmental Remediation services. MEG is a classified Oil Spill Removal Organization (OSRO) and is recognized by the USCG and US EPA. Specifically, MEG personnel have extensive experience and training in the areas of Oil Spill Response, Hazardous Materials Response, Groundwater Remediation, Industrial Cleaning, Pipeline Cleaning and Video Inspection. MEG currently provides Environmental and Industrial Services for petroleum companies, chemical manufacturers and processors, utilities, aviation-related companies, the railroad industry, consulting engineering firms, insurance companies, regulatory agencies, and various Fortune 500 companies.