S.O.S.-Save Our Septic® Volume 15: A Troubled Summer…the Deadlines Begin!
Synopsis: A learning opportunity about the simplicity of a wastewater system upgrade project.
Application: Retrofit with a HighStrengthFAST® system with an existing overloaded wastewater system on a school property.
Winterton Middle School in the town of Riley had only opened six years ago and Principal Matt Foster had been involved since the ribbon cutting ceremony. When the school opened, it had a copious amount of classrooms and room for growth. District office planned for excelling programs but did not see nor plan for the immediate boost in population. There were several attractions that brought families to Riley. One of which was the school district got excellent reports on high performance scores in academics and athletics. As a result, the Winterton School District has been operating over capacity ever since, and it was only going to continue.
Winterton Middle School staff worked long hours attending meetings, submitting end of year curriculums, and on top of all this, planning the construction groundbreaking to start the day after school ends. The district really had no choice but to start expanding the facilities during summer to accommodate the upcoming class.
“Thank you, again, parents for attending the last Parent/Teacher Conference of the year. The feedback you provided will help us shape the new summer program; and, more importantly, help our kids succeed,” Principal Matt Foster addresses the attentive crowd. “This summer Winterton Middle will receive some much needed expansion due to the increase in student population and we thank you in advance for your patience during construction.”
Matt took the opportunity to thank all the teachers for yet another successful Parent-Teacher conference. “Let’s meet again next Monday to discuss the ‘go forward plan’ with the new summer program.”
One week later
With four months left until the end of school year, the tension was tight with plans almost finalized. The last step, but certainly the most dreaded, was upgrading the existing wastewater system. The current overloaded system could not continue to handle the daily flows without major problems in the future. The back and forth conversations with Rich Willow, project manager from Baker & Willow Engineering Firm, and Matt had gone on for months now. In hopes for a “go ahead” response on the technologies submitted, the engineering firm submitted the site designs to the state. The final plans were for the old system to be used in conjunction with a new system. It came down to two manufacturers. Because the project is a retrofit installation; this complicated the factors for the system design. The meetings with the treatment manufacturers were set-up in the upcoming weeks.
The rep from the first manufacturer visited the school and walked the property. He expressed confidence that the technology worked for the application. However, his confidence quickly waned due to the strict installation deadline and the system being a retrofit project, he was uncomfortable promising completion by the first day of school. The District office really pushed for the August 17th deadline. The rep went over the system’s maintenance about removing components and hosing them down next to the practice field – the only spot for the treatment system to go. Not only that, but most of the system will need to be replaced in 5 to 7 years!
“This was not going to pan out well with Joe, the school maintenance worker,” thought Matt.
The rep from the second manufacturer that met with Matt walked in and was a little more than strange. Matt looked up; then looked over at Rich with a “you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me” look.
“Matt, I would like for you to meet Aerobe. She is from Bio-Microbics,” Rich explains. “I can tell from your facial expression that you are a little shocked. Aerobe is actually made up of Bio-Microbics’ environmentally-sound parts.”
“Hi Matt, it’s nice to meet you. And don’t worry; I have that kind of impact on people. I actually have a partner named Robust, who also comes out to talk and educate customers about Bio-Microbics. Don’t worry, I do have “human” engineers, sales and a technical team back at the office. They just send us out to do the “dirty work”… no pun intended.” Aerobe gives Matt a wink.
“Wow! Well, I guess I can’t hide it now. It is certainly nice to meet you and I am glad you have a good sense of humor about all of this, at least,” replies Matt.
“Well, Rich explained that you guys are on a tight timeline here. The actual project deadline, if my control panel of a brain serves me correctly, is August 17th?” Aerobe asked.
“That’s correct Aerobe” replies Rich.
“All joking aside, do you guys want to show me around? I brought some information to show you as well. We have a pretty good idea here, but will get a lay of the land and take some pre-construction photos for your referral. Also, I’d suggest that the kids taking science class this summer follow the project and learn about wastewater treatment. Don’t you think it would be a good learning experience for them?” explains Aerobe.
Matt, Rich, and Aerobe walked around where the existing system already is installed and discussed ideally where the treatment system would be and. After getting the required information from the tour they sat down to go over the specifics.
Benefits of Bio-Microbics
“For the Winterton School septic expansion, we suggest a HighStrengthFAST® system. Here is a rough sketch of the site plan. With the existing conventional system—assuming the structural integrity is in good shape—we will use this tank for settling before the HighStrengthFAST® treatment zone and do what is called ‘flow equalization.’ Flow equalization will even out the influent flow, instead of surges when the school is full,” Aerobe explains. “These systems are Fixed Integrated Treatment Technologies or FITT® that are designed for this type of application and exceed most standards for water quality. They are FITT® for the purpose intended!”
“I brought some product manuals with me and will leave these, but I just wanted to show you the simplicity of our systems,” Aerobe says pointing to the HighStrengthFAST® system diagram.
“Not only are the systems pre-packaged, in stock, and ready to ship when you are ready to install; if something were to change, we could accommodate a quick turnaround for additional equipment, etc. Once this order is in house, units will ship that same week. After the system is installed, there is nothing to remove. The only replacement part is the air filter for the blower and that’s on an as needed basis. ”
Aerobe proceeded to explain the maintenance on the FAST® system – which can vary and depend on local regulations. The only moving part on the system is the blower for the treatment units and this is located above grade up to 100 feet or 30 meters away from the system. The required components to check and clean on the system are the blower(s) and vent(s), and the air filter to ensure they are free of any debris. Thru the observation port, a consistent splash sound can be heard and an earthy aroma can be smelt. A “sludge judge” determines when the system is due for a pump out. This will be a good time to check those grease traps in the kitchen.
“Just a reminder, Ground-breaking will be the day after school is out in order to get this completed by end of summer. We will have some fireworks of our own on the fourth of July if this all does not pan out,” Rich remarked to Principal Foster and Aerobe.
Ground-breaking…A Heated Summer
Four months pass and the last school bus was leaving out of the parking circle of Winterton Middle for summer break. Site plans had been approved by all the required parties and Bio-Microbics was the choice. The HighStrengthFAST® system had arrived and placed on the track field with backhoes scheduled to arrive the next day. Everything was on plan and under control.
A few weeks later, while the school maintenance worker, Joe, stood next to Principal Foster, he added, “Matt, I cannot believe how quickly that system went in! Plus, there is very little maintenance that I have to do. This leaves me with more time to address other urgent business, like that To-Do list that keeps piling up; and, what the coach wants done to the track.”
Just then, Aerobe and Rich walked up after a quick hello. As Aerobe, Principal Foster and Rich were walking down the hall to exit the building, a kid was walking towards them. The boy stopped in his tracks as soon as he saw Aerobe, with his jaw opened wide in admiration.
Principal Foster turns to the 7th grader, “Hi Timmy, I see you are in awe of my guest here. This is Aerobe, she is a Bio-Microbics Onsite Treatment Specialist or B.O.T.S made up of wastewater treatment products.”
“Aerobe, Timmy is an honor roll student and President of the Winterton Middle Science Club,” Foster says.
Timmy with a big smile remarks, “Well hello, Aerobe. It’s nice to meet you. I think it would be awesome if you could be here during the science fair! I am sharing the photos of what I learned about wastewater treatment over the summer.”
“Nice!” says Aerobe, “We do technical symposiums all the time. So, I would be glad to be here and see what you learned.”
Timmy’s eyes lit up. “COOL!” he exclaimed.
Aerobe and Rich together exclaimed, “Just as planned, FITT®-for-the-purpose intended!”
– Fin –