Septic system installer Brady Rettkowski knew there had to be a better way. The Oregon-based contractor was spending an inordinate amount of time installing gravel-and-pipe leach lines for his systems, taking up valuable man-hours.
“I’ve always thought gravel-and-pipe leach lines are the best method, but it’s hard to justify the labor, especially for installers who only have one or two employees,” Rettkowski says. “I just started looking for a way to speed up the process.”
That brainstorm ultimately led to the Rockslide, an invention that allows one productive backhoe or mini-excavator/skid-steer operator to install more than 1,000 linear feet of leach line in a day. The unit is towed behind the backhoe or excavator and installs gravel, pipe and fabric in a single pass. The automated system is designed to enable perfect pipe placement.
Using the Rockslide, workers are never required to enter the leach line trench prior to aggregate placement. All engagement for locomotion or relocation is done directly by machines, with no need for personnel to help with lifting. The unit is designed for use in all soil types, as trenches in loose or sandy soils only need to stay open for a few seconds. Once the unit has passed through a section of trench, a cave-in won’t hurt the leach line, as the gravel and pipe are already placed and protected with filter fabric.
“From the testing we’ve done, soil type really makes no difference in the performance of the unit,” Rettkowski says. “I’d only recommend using our lighter version of the unit in areas that are prone to soil compaction.”
According to Rettkowski, labor savings are substantial using the Rockslide. Input costs are lower due to the less expensive materials and a decrease in waste. The Rockslide also provides increased flexibility in trench formation along contours and around obstacles, without a significant slow down in production.
“Gravel-and-pipe leach lines are typically less expensive than alternatives, but the time it takes to install them deters installers from using them,” he says. “I invented it to make my life easier as an installer, and after seeing the benefits of using it, I think other installers will appreciate it as well.” 541/567-7830; www.rockslidetech.com.