Tricks for a Perfect Record of Level Tank Installations

Laser levels ensure level excavations and help establish a good relationship with tank delivery crews

Tricks for a Perfect Record of Level Tank Installations

Amanda and Trent Winters of Winters Septic Service plot out a septic system for a mobile home park. (Photo by Scott Morgan)

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At Winters Septic Service in Iowa Falls, Iowa, owners Trent and Amanda Winters pursue meticulous, detail-oriented septic system installations. Key tools in their pursuit of perfection are laser levels made by Spectra Precision/Trimble.

“We take great pride in the fact that when a tank is delivered and dropped into place, it’s level — no need to lift it back out so we can level the hole some more,” Amanda Winters says. “It’s a respect thing for the tank company; we don’t want them waiting on us. If they’re sitting there waiting for us to get things level, they’re not making money. We want them to be able to back up, drop it in and be out of there in half an hour so.”

Moreover, a poorly excavated tank hole can lead to uneven settling, which can cause problems down the road, she adds.

Winters says the company’s three Spectra Precision/Trimble laser levels (models LL300N and LL500) are durable and easy to use. They’re mounted on a tripod and guide backhoe operators by emitting audible alerts. Faster beeps tell operators to go deeper; slower beeps indicate they’ve gone too far.

Winters says the units are well worth the investment. “We strive for tanks being completely flush, front to back and side to side,” she says. “If the hole is too deep on the inlet side, waste can flow back into the pipe and toward the house. And if it’s too deep on the outlet side, it can push material through the filter openings that normally wouldn’t pass through. Overall, it’s the little things that make a difference.”

As an example of how the company goes the extra yard in terms of details, Winters says they mount handles on all effluent filters so they’re easier to remove. “Some people clean the filters themselves, and we don’t want them leaning over into the tank opening to reach down and remove it,” she explains. “So we install a handle that sits 3 or 4 inches below the tank lid.”

The Spectra Precision/Trimble levels also help determine the winner of a friendly ongoing contest between Winters and her brother-in-law, Tony Winters. While Trent does most of the excavating, Tony or Amanda make sure it’s the proper depth in relation to the inlet pipe and using a Spectra Precision/Trimble level to ensure the bottom of the hole is level.

“Tony and I battle it out,” she says. “It’s a silly game we play, taking turns to see which tank installation is more level.” After the tank is set in the hole, a level is placed atop the tank to ensure it’s completely level, from front to back as well as side to side.

“This is the ultimate step in our contest, which determines who created a hole with the proper conditions for a perfectly set tank,” Winters explains. To date, Winters is the leader in the competition with a perfect record of level tank installs. Tony is just a smidgen behind with 95 percent of his tanks perfectly level after installation. “The contest keeps things fun and ensures a properly set tank,” she says.

Read more about Winters Septic Service in the July issue of Onsite Installer.


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