Our history in detail

History in detail:

The Pumps United story began in 1972, when, Peter Boam started a business in Perth named Mobile Dewatering (MDW). Fabricating his own equipment, Peter serviced Western Australian customers for 18 years, before selling the business to the Damien Cole Group in 1990. 

Years later, Jim and James Sebbes approached Damien Cole, looking to purchase brick hoists. Being only a small part of the group’s operations Damien said to the Sebbes, “While you have your cheque book out, you should also buy the dewatering business”. 

Seeing the potential, Jim and James were soon in the dewatering industry. They built their knowledge from the ground up and operated a backyard workshop, where they would weld and paint pumps into the late hours of the night, seven days a week. 

Over the next five years a customer base grew, laying the foundations for relationships that endure today. 

Mobile Dewatering were renowned for their work ethic, an ethic that built the loyalty on which the business thrived. In a time before it was forbidden by regulation, dedicated staff would sleep in their utes outside sites to ensure everything was running smoothly, especially if the client had a concrete pour booked for the next day. 

After eight years, Mobile Dewatering started winning work on major projects with Tier One construction companies and the company grew, fast. 

Their first groundwater treatment system was installed at The Raffles Hotel in Perth. This would be a breakthrough moment for the company. At a time when environmental rules were changing, the environmental agency saw Mobile Dewatering’s application and it soon became the new standard for every project site. 

While no longer sleeping out in front of sites, 24-hour remote monitoring alarms and automated start back ups meant that Mobile Dewatering was always there, ensuring everything ran smoothly.

In 2004, Prestige Pump Rentals (PPR) was established as a dry hire pump rental company, creating a rental arm in Western Australia. With six pumps, Neil Culbert led the business and quickly built a reputation for reliability. Demand quickly grew, and over the next five years the business flourished with a team of 12 operating a fleet of pumps, servicing the construction and mining industry. 

But customer demand was changing in the mining market. The days of loading pumps onto the back of a truck were coming to an end. Mines wanted end-to-end solutions providers. 

PPR developed a market-leading offer, providing water supply solutions via bore pumps, telemetry systems, mining camp water supplies and poly pipe welding. Supported by knowledgeable staff and the required infrastructure to meet the needs of their growing customer base, PPR became indispensable to its customers. With operations in Port Headland and Perth, PPR had hundreds of bores, standpipes and diesel pumps on hire across WA.

In 2007, MDW Environmental Services was established to meet the increasing technical requirements of dewatering approvals and discharge issues. The company was set up initially to only handle the internal approvals for Mobile Dewatering and Prestige Pumps, but quickly grew to take on customer’s environmental consulting work. Expansion was fast, going from one to 17 staff members, developing and writing dewatering management and acid sulphate soil management plans, undertaking air monitoring and soil sampling and managing contaminated site surveys and compliance.

In 2012, MDW Aquahire was established to supply water treatment services on customer projects. Meeting a gap in the market, the capability was established internally to take over all water treatment services required daily to safely discharge dewatering effluent into the local environment. This service evolved into the design and development of water treatment units within the MDW Aquahire business. 

In 2015, frustrated at the offerings in northern Queensland, MDW Pump Rentals Queensland was established, initially as a partnership with a local dewatering and pumping expert. Project reach included Port Headland, Perth and North Queensland, and with a relatively short history, hundreds of projects were successfully delivered.

In 2016 Vortex Hire, a leading dewatering, pump rental and water services company servicing the Newcastle and Hunter Valley region in NSW, merged with the MDW Group. Vortex Hire had formed in 2011 when the operations of Gil Milton’s Pump Affinity and Chris Buckley’s Field Maintenance Services and Systems (FMSS) combined, operating from their current location in Beresfield. 

Vortex Hire developed a loyal customer base by offering leading equipment and delivering high levels of service. In 2016, Vortex Hire merged with the MDW Group and has since expanded to Sydney and Adelaide.

In 2017, the MDW Group embarked on a significant project to restructure the company and align under a single unified brand. 

Pumps United now emerged, combining and strengthening the former MDW Group of companies’ capabilities by aligning operations, people and expertise to deliver industry- leading water management solutions, nationwide.