Save Time Hunting for Hidden Tanks With a Flushable Locator​

Time is money. Don't squander it trying to find someone's septic tank.

Save Time Hunting for Hidden Tanks With a Flushable Locator​

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When Martin Ruiz got started in his septic service business in 2011, he used metal detectors to locate septic tanks because the majority of tanks around Phelan, California, were steel.

Many of those units had been installed in the 1980s and 1990s, but by the 2000s, some of those tanks failed or collapsed and were replaced with concrete or plastic tanks. To find those tanks, Ruiz relied on the homeowner’s knowledge, reasonable guessing, and probing. It was often time-consuming, inefficient or downright unsuccessful.

Even though Ruiz was on a tight budget, having just started his business, he soon decided to invest in a locator.

Ruiz chose a Prototek system consisting of the AR‑1 battery-operated receiver along with ATP‑12 flushable transmitters. A technician experiencing difficulties locating a tank will discuss the situation with the homeowner, tell them a locator will be used to find it, and advise there will be an extra charge to do so.

The first step is sending the transmitter to the tank. “If there’s a clean-out outside the home, we’ll go to that first versus asking the customer to flush it down the toilet,” Ruiz says. Then the technician walks around the property with the receiver, starting in the area where they think the tank may be. The unit has near/far sensitivity adjustments for narrowing the search, and beeping and needle movement on the meter to indicate tank location.

 An early success proved its worth to Ruiz.

“Those flushable units helped me locate a tank one homeowner had already had several companies come out and try to locate,” he says. “We were the third company going in there.” He asked the homeowner to flush the unit down the toilet, flushing three times. “Then I walked that property in a circular fashion, starting 5 feet out from the structure. Each time around I expanded my search by 5 feet until I found the tank 140 feet away from the house.”

Most people know exactly where their tank is so the company doesn’t have to use the system every day, but Ruiz says they use it often enough and couldn’t do without it. “They work great,” he says.

Read more about Septic Control in this month’s issue of Pumper magazine.


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