Mixing It Up

The makers of the Crust Busters tank agitator plan to show a new extension option at 2015 WWETT.
Mixing It Up
Rick Glass, left, owner of Tom’s Sewer & Septic in McDonald, Ohio, and his daughter, Christine, look over a Crust Buster with Crust Busters partner Pete Schmitz. Glass purchased a unit during the 2014 show.

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Pete Schmitz knew he had a tough job ahead of him when he decided to pump out his own septic tank back in 1996. He opened the cover and saw a thick layer of hard scum between his suction hose and the liquid contents below.

“I went to pump out my tank and there was a terrible, thick crust about 2 feet deep on it,” says Schmitz, partner with Crust Busters/Schmitz Brothers LLC, based in Monticello, Minn. “Seeing how I had experience in the waste industry, I knew that I should get an agitator and mix it in order to suck it up into the hose.”

Thus came the idea for the Crust Buster – a product that has been shown at the Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo International (now the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show) for the last 18 years, beginning in 1997. The top end of the product looks very much like the engine and handles on an ice-fishing auger and a variety of shaft extensions and blades complete the package.


“This is geared toward guys that are in the septic tank pumping business and grease trap pumping business, and also guys who are pumping car wash pits, it works great for that as well,” Schmitz says.

However, it didn’t start out that way, Schmitz says. When the product launched it was marketed solely for septic service. After the second or third year of the show, Schmitz says people asked him if it would work for challenging grease trap service.

“Up here in Minnesota there were not that many grease traps,” Schmitz says. “We did not have experience at pumping grease traps, so we weren’t quite sure if it would work just as well.”

Pumpers began using Crust Busters on grease traps and soon reported the results.

“One guy came up to us and said that on our advertisement instead of it saying septic tank agitator, we should add grease trap agitator,” Schmitz says. “After that we changed it to grease trap agitator also.”

The Crust Buster mixes the crust, effluent and solids into a slurry, liquefying a 1,000- to 2,500-gallon residential septic tank in five minutes or less, Schmitz explains.

It comes in a two- or a three-blade model, and has undergone minor changes since it was first developed in 1996 – a vinyl cover can now be purchased to protect the powerhead. Buster Brackets allow pumpers to conveniently secure the tool in their vacuum truck hose trays, and a variety of extensions help users reach every corner of deep tanks.

“The Buster Brackets allow operators to mount the Crust Buster to their truck when going from job to job,” Schmitz says. “The advantage to that is they don’t have to disassemble the powerhead from the shaft if they don’t want to. It’s quicker to take it off those Buster Brackets and take it right to the tank.”

The shaft extensions are available in 2-, 4- and 6-foot lengths, with the standard shaft length being 80 inches.

NEW FOR 2015

When Crust Busters returns to the WWETT show in February 2015, Schmitz says the company will have another extension available as part of its lineup.

“We’re going to be adding different-sized extensions,” Schmitz says. “I’m adding some longer ones because guys are getting to these tanks that are pretty deep in the ground and harder to access. So instead of just a 6-foot shaft, we’re making 9-foot shafts now.”

There’s a big reason Crust Busters has been attending the show the last 18 years – the customers.

“We always pick up new customers there. We actually have people at the show tell us part of the reason they come to show is to buy a Crust Buster and to see the Crust Buster,” Schmitz says. “We also pick up new customers not only from the U.S., but from other countries. We meet new clients and also talk to our old clients. It’s a good way to communicate, you can meet people from all over the world there at one location.”

Schmitz says the 2014 show was a great one for the company; an omen of good things to come was that a sale was made as soon as the doors opened on the first day of exhibiting.

“I thought this past year at the show was very good for us,” Schmitz says. “People were coming into the booth looking to buy, they were looking to see what has changed or what is still there. It’s just a great way to meet the people and see what’s happening.” 888/878-2296; www.crustbusters.com.


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