Could you afford to hand over the profits from 300 pumpouts?

A septic pumping contractor in Kalispell, Mont., faces a steep penalty for what some might consider a minor mistake — failing to file paperwork correctly. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality says Ready Freddy septic service must fork over $33,000 for pumping without a license during 2012. The company has been around for four decades. Shouldn’t that count?

The DEQ requires septic tank pumpers to submit the previous year’s pumping records along with annual license renewal applications. According to an article on, Ready Freddy failed to submit the necessary paperwork and records from 2012 so the company was not issued a 2013 license. 

Perhaps the business owner made a mistake, but a $33,000 fine? Seems a bit harsh for a 40-year-old septic company failing to file proper paperwork. 

Related: Rules and Regs: Rules and Regs

One mistake in the licensing renewal process and he’s slapped with a fine comparable to a couple months worth of profits for a one-man pumping outfit? Consider if you make $100 profit on each tank you pump, the fine would eat up revenues from more than 300 pumpouts. Even if he simply forgot to file the necessary paperwork, does the punishment fit the “crime”?  

On the bright side, the septic company and the government agency are working together to resolve the violation, which benefits the entire industry. Ready Freddy and the state DEQ have cooperatively entered into a consent order. The septic service company will pay the penalty, submit quarterly pumping records and obtain a license before the start of 2015. 

Related: Guest Blog: Regular Septic Tank Pumping Puts Money in Your Pocket

How do you ensure all your paperwork is filed properly and on time to avoid fines? Post a comment below or email

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