We Need Your ‘Tough Job’ Stories

Onsite is here to stay, and it’s incumbent on you to build on the success we’ve had in this industry. Helping out with a System Profile story is one way to do that.

Springtime for readers of Onsite Installer means lining up excavation and construction work for the busy summer season ahead. This is the important time when you balance your crew’s ability to handle the workload with the calls coming in from homeowners anxious to get their projects going. They want a new septic system and they want it now!

As the editor of the trade publication for installers, it’s also a busy time of planning for me as well. We need to identify challenging projects on the docket for contractors heading into the busy 2020 summer season. You’re doing the heavy lifting … and we want to tell the world about it with our pen and notebook, laptop computer, and camera gear.

And nailing down our monthly System Profile features for the coming issues of the magazine can be a challenge. Certainly not the problem-solving challenge our professional installers face every day, but a challenge nonetheless. We are tasked with convincing our wonderful installing community to carve a little time out of their busy schedules to share their unique stories.

You don’t always want to hear from us, I’ll admit. Sometimes when I call you, I know you are back at the office after a long day in the field, boots off, feet up on the desk and perhaps even an adult beverage in hand as you think about the status of your current projects. Are the guys going to meet the deadline at that lake home project? Is there a piece of equipment broken down in the shop that needs some attention? Did you return all the messages left on your cellphone today?


Well, I’d like to take a moment to make a pitch for you to spend a little time talking to one of our writers about your latest big project. If you’re a regular reader of Onsite Installer — and I am thankful that so many of you let me know you turn these pages every month — you’ll know we relish covering the most unusual installs our contractors face. These might be traditional septic systems custom-fit to the most extreme topography. They might be projects using new-to-you technology on postage stamp-sized lakefront lots. They might be projects requiring you to jump through more hoops than a circus dog performer.

Whatever the case, someday we’ll be calling and asking you to tell the story of that head-scratcher of a job. Or maybe you’ll identify one of these projects on your own and will reach out to tell us about it. In either case, I can give you several reasons to answer “yes” to working with us on a System Profile story. Consider this:

You want to be known as the “tough-job installer.”

Is yours the company in your area that folks call when they’ve stumped other installers? I hear this frequently from contractors we feature in System Profile. They take pride in being the contractor who isn’t just building simple tank-and-drainfield systems in perfect soil conditions. They are excited by the challenge of overcoming site limitations to deliver the perfect flow for the home being planned. They embrace the idea of adding a whole new treatment product to their repertoire. They run toward, not away from, a job that requires a set of approvals and regulations hurdles. If you’re one of those installers, we want to hear from you.

You want to promote the use of new technologies in your state and county.

When you hear of a new type of system approved for use elsewhere, do you watch for a project where you can work with regulators to promote that technology in your county or state? When you go to the WWETT Show, do you seek out manufacturers offering new solutions that you’ve never seen go in the ground before? Our System Profile contractors say they are curious to learn something new with each difficult project. They are intrigued by a learning opportunity and feel it’s an asset to offer customers the widest possible variety of systems to meet a need. They also believe it benefits them and the industry when new treatment products find regional or national acceptance.

You want to help other installing professionals.

Some contractors like to keep what they’ve learned about installing close to the vest and don’t like to share with others for fear of losing a competitive advantage. I would argue that positive networking promotes professionalism in the industry. If installers talk with each other about what is working, what isn’t working and the questions they face in the field, it benefits everyone, including the customers. And isn’t that what this is all about — helping customers? If you have read our System Profile stories over the years, you have benefitted from the experience of others in the industry. Turnabout is fair play, as they say. Isn’t it time for you to return the favor and talk about your biggest challenges?

You want to support decentralized wastewater treatment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Memorandum of Understanding many years ago determined that decentralized wastewater treatment is a viable and important permanent part of the sewage treatment equation. No longer is a septic system assumed to be a temporary solution while homeowners wait for municipal sewer system expansion. Onsite systems are expected to grow to represent one-third of all permanent treatment solutions in the future. This is great news for installers and maintainers. Onsite is here to stay, and it’s incumbent on you to build on the success we’ve had in this industry. Helping out with a System Profile story is one way to do that.


Installer readers in the coming year. If you have an upcoming job that seems like a great fit for the System Profile feature, let me know about it by email at editor@onsiteinstaller.com. I’d enjoy talking to you about it. And if I ring your phone number, please consider picking up and talking to me. I’m not a telemarketer. The only thing I’m trying to sell you is the opportunity for us to build on the success of the onsite industry together.


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