Favorite Tools and Tough Jobs

A pumper talks about his most handy tool and how his team gave a plumbing crew a breath of fresh air.
Favorite Tools and Tough Jobs
Brent Gale with a septic truck at Goodwin Septic Tank Service.

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Pumping professional Brent Gale appreciates the utility and speed of modern technology, including his fleet of able vacuum trucks. But the owner of Goodwin Septic Tank Service in Grand Junction, Colorado, maintains that his technicians’ go-to tool is a simple staple of manual labor.

“I used to make what we called ‘lid getters’ – long-handled hooks to pick up septic tank lids – out of rebar, because our technicians would often forget them on a job site and we lost a lot. But now our guys prefer the ones they see in the pages of Pumper,” Gale says, referring to Top Popper manhole hooks from T&T Tools. “I call them my ‘fat man’ tools,” he says with a chuckle.

His preference for the simple and direct extends to his approach to challenges that inevitably arise in the course of everyday jobs. He remembers a recent call in which his crew was called by a plumber to clean a grease trap with a broken outlet baffle. The plumbing technicians needed to work on the outlet side of the tank to replace the broken baffle, so the Goodwin Septic crew had to pump it dry.

The winter weather had created a unique problem. The air outside the tank was considerably colder than the air inside. As soon as the tank lid was opened and the inside and outside air met, fog was forming, making it difficult to see inside the tank. The plumbing technicians would have a hard time dealing with the fog while making their repair from outside the tank, so Gale's crew took over.

They hooked up the hose to a 2005 Peterbilt 335 rig, with a 3,600-gallon Progress aluminum tank and hydraulic lift, full-open rear hatch, and liquid-cooled Masport HXL-400 pump, built out by Bay State Truck and Trailer. The hose was put into the inlet side and the lid was sealed. They turned on the pump and vacuumed out the foggy, fetid air.

This also sucked fresh air into the tank on the outlet side, making it not just clearer, but a little more pleasant for the plumbers to finish their work. “That sure made the plumbers happy,” Gale recalls.

Read more about Goodwin Septic Tank Service in this month's issue of Pumper magazine.


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