Site Evaluators Team Up With Habitat for Humanity

Site Evaluators Team Up With Habitat for Humanity
Photos courtesy of Eljen Corporation

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When the Maine Association of Site Evaluators was looking for a way to celebrate SepticSmart Week in late September, they found an altruistic way that helped not only those in need, but also — they hope — their own members.

SepticSmart Week, an annual initiative founded by the Environmental Protection Agency, focuses on educating homeowners and communities on the proper care and maintenance of their septic systems. This October, the Maine Association of Site Evaluators — which represents about 150 licensed site evaluators — assembled a volunteer day for Midcoast Habitat for Humanity in Rockport, Maine, and provided materials for a septic system for a home in Camden, Maine.

“A lot of the builds for Habitat for Humanity have been more in city or suburban centers where they’re automatically connected to the sewer,” says Meg Thomson, marketing coordinator for Eljen of East Hartford, Connecticut, which helped with the event.

Tim Wade, president of Maine Association of Site Evaluators, says the association considered doing something with a charitable organization in the past, but “nothing on this scale.”

About eight of Maine Association of Site Evaluators' member companies participated as well as other vendors, donating everything including site evaluation and design, labor, and other things from pipes and concrete to sand — a total donation of about $12,000 to $14,000, Wade estimates. “They had to get everything from the septic tanks to all the little pieces,” he adds.

In addition to the event helping Habitat for Humanity, Wade considered the build a “great training opportunity for our guys.”

Thomson says that being in a group like the Maine Association of Site Evaluators helps to “get everybody on the same page” as well as to raise the profile of what those in the septic business do.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t think that septic installers are really that advanced,” Thomson says. “I can definitely say that’s not true.”

Most homeowners may think that installers simply dig a hole and put a tank in, but that’s where SepticSmart Week comes in. Thomson says, “It’s helping owners know what’s going on in their septic system and how to take care of it. … (The septic tank) is not just like a bottomless magic pit.”

Wade agrees; he hopes that site designers will learn more about what the installers do, and vice versa. And hopefully the public will take notice of the collaboration and want to find out more as well.

“I can’t speak for the public,” he says, “but the traffic coming to our site is homeowners looking for us to design their site.”

He calls the build a “starting block” for other training opportunities. “You’ve got to start somewhere.”

Note: This could not have been possible without the hard work of several of the Maine Association of Site Evaluators’ members and the generous contributions by the sponsors of this septic system installation: American Concrete of Veazie, Maine; Construction Consultants of Windham, Maine; E J Prescott of Gardiner, Maine; Eagle Rental of Waterville, Maine; Eljen of East Hartford, Connecticut; George C. Hall and Sons of Rockland, Maine; and McGee Construction of Gardiner, Maine. The design, installation and inspection process were professionally recorded and will be made publically available on the Maine Association of Site Evaluators website (www.mainese.com) when completed.  



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