Trash-Screening Units Reduce Spreading Costs for Montana Pumper

Trash-Screening Units Reduce Spreading Costs for Montana Pumper

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Sweet Pea Sewer and Septic land-applies its septage at several locations around Missoula and Hamilton, Montana. The reason is simple: Land-applying waste is about half the cost of disposing it at the local municipal treatment plant, says Adam Bartels, who co-owns the company with longtime friend Russ Hood.

But the company saves even more money by using two Maxi Screen 400 trash-screening units made by ScreencO Systems. The units filter out debris and trash, eliminating the need to hire workers to “walk the line” and pick up trash in the fields after spreading waste, he says.

One Maxi Screen unit is located in Hamilton and another in Missoula. Here’s how they work: Waste is gravity-fed onto a dual-screen filtering system. As the screens filter out trash, liquid waste falls into a large pan underneath the screens. From there, a vacuum truck collects the waste, then transports it to a land-application site.

“Before, we had to hire a guy full-time just to pick up the trash,” Bartels says. “In Montana, you’re required to walk your line within 12 hours of applications. So we’ve eliminated some labor costs.

“But beyond that, it also eliminates the stress of wondering if those land-application sites are being kept clean,” he says. “Land-application sites are very precious, so you don’t want complaints about trash from the land-owners and neighboring residents that might jeopardize things.”

ScreencO Systems' Maxi Screen 400
ScreencO Systems' Maxi Screen 400

Bartels says he and Hood had discussed buying a Maxi Screen for a while, but decided to actually do it after seeing one at the WWETT Show.

“It sealed the deal when we saw firsthand the quality of the product,” he says. “It’s designed by a septic pumper (Scott Meyer, the owner of ScreencO), so we knew it would work. Besides, we think that someday pumpers here will be required to screen all land-applied waste, so we’d rather be ahead of that curve than behind it.”

The Maxi Screen can process waste at a rate of 500 gpm. A key feature is its dual-screen, V-shaped filtering system that includes almost 20 square feet of screening area. The screens are made from aluminum with stainless steel, 3/8-inch gapped-bar screens. An operator uses a custom stainless steel tool to rake trash onto a drain tray that’s connected to a 7-foot-long folding trash-removal chute, which can be mounted on either side of the unit.


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