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So Dads trying to pull it off...

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Junior M, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. curtisfarmer

    curtisfarmer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 511

    Being an elected member of my town planning board, I see alot of septic designs and how the technology is improving in general. Alot of towns use soil based zoning, using soil type and corresponding perc. rates to dictate lot size, which is WAY old school and is basically growth control. Now, we see alot of Enviro systems where the lot has alot of ledge, set backs, and other issues where a conventional system wouldn't work. The system is set in about a 12X12" area and is a minifiltration system(and reqwuires maintanence contract for approval). There are several new designs for conventional systems too. Another new theme is coupled/ shared systems which can getvrather large.

    Septic work is not rocket science and can be profitable when blended into other avenues of dirt work using the same equipment. Very few "septic only" guys up here.

    Long story short, up here you almost need a 12 ton excavator to do most syetms you will encounter. This is due to market conditions....you will be pulling the timber and stumps and dealing with boulders/ ledge on most jobs. Down where some of you guys live you probably can do it with a hoe. Use what you have until you can get more:)
  2. Junior M

    Junior M LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,550

    I dont understand either, I'd love to get to where I could really run a backhoe. But folks that can get everything out of a backhoe are becoming less and less.. So that means I'd have to learn trial by error which can become expensive..

    He's exploring another avenue of work, not exactly excavation, but he's suppose to know whats going down by tomorrow, maybe tonight. I dont know.. I'll message you if something isnt going to work with that..

    Not really, I've got a pick up and trailer to move a 5 to 6ton mini ex.

    for a backhoe, I'll need a large enough truck and trailer because I am not depending on somebody to move my machine, especially something as little as a backhoe..

    all the systems for homes are done with a backhoe here..
  3. tnmtn

    tnmtn LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NE Tn.
    Posts: 1,019

    i've done all the installs and repairs till this last job with a under 5 ton backhoe. it doesn't take 14' of dig depth to dig an under 5' drainfield. i am also able to dig for the tank as well. my machine weighs under 5 tons. many times i feel like i am faster with the smaller hoe than i would have been with a larger one. definitly when space is an issue.
    good luck,
  4. Junior M

    Junior M LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,550

    The 110 JD was definetly a consideration in my mind if he insisted on a backhoe being the best avenue..
  5. JPsDuramax

    JPsDuramax LawnSite Senior Member
    from Georgia
    Posts: 346


    Here in Georgia, every septic company that I have seen and worked with have a rubber tire. I'm not sure what the thought process is, but apparently it works. Probably has to do with less equipment to maintain and easier to haul one machine vs. two.

    As for the 110 JD, there are two for sell on Craigslist here locally, and they are between 19000 and 23000. I hope things work out for you and your dad.
  6. Junior M

    Junior M LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,550

    Thats the thing, if the EZflow is allowed, I could get by with just a mini excavator..

    Like I said, we'll see what goes down in the next day..
  7. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    Jeff are sure about the weights on the Tanks?
    Ours here do not weigh that much. Wonder what the difference is.

    I have used backhoes and excavators for septic work. They both do the job well but the shear size of a backhoe makes it tough doing repairs on existing systems. I also feel a Excavator is a much more versatile machine for jobs that require digging. A Full size backhow is a massive machine and it's shear size will limit your jobs.

    Reach is very important as well. Most tanks are about 60 to 70 inches tall and sometimes they may be 3+ feet deep. So your hole can sometimes be 10 foot deep. The last 2 dosing tanks I set where at my machines limits depth wise. You start digging 5 foot deep trenches and the lack of reach gets aggravating. In my opinion a JD 110/ L48 size hoe would not be ideal for day to day installs but would be great for repairs.

    I will also add that I often here people say Septic work is not rocket science but in reality people who say this just do not understand Septic Work. Sure the village idiot can dig the trench but that is not what this industry is. As a matter of fact half my sales calls are for premature failures installed during the building boom. If it was so easy then why do I see so many failures. As a Septic contractor you have to gain a sense of responsibility as your work is designed to last 20+ years.

    On a final note I would take all of Jeff's advice. He is very knowledgable and experienced.
  8. Junior M

    Junior M LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,550

    I guess I never thought about depth. So far money has been my biggest thought..

    its pretty easy to pick out who to take advise from and who not to.. Not saying your not right, but you know what I mean.. Tnmtn also does..
  9. jefftb

    jefftb LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 563

    Yep, sure on the tank weights. These are 5,000 psi concrete tanks for those volumes. The 5K tank is 122" outside height, 180" long, 78" wide with lots of rebar and thick walls/lid. I'll email you a PDF if you want. This supplier just went to 8,000 gallons for precast. That's a load. I can point you to a precast supplier in the 40,000 gallon category. The cost is high and the freight worse not to mention the handling prob.

    Actually in this case I think your experience is more valuable for repair work and individual residential drainfield work on new installs.....My projects are bigger when you talk about setting a 30,000 gallon septic tank or a 5,000 gallon septic and/or pump tank. Does that make it better or superior?


    Projects that I target don't roll down the bid list everyday. Mine take longer but you have a far better probability of closing on jobs due to volume and repeat business. I envy that. Our experiences are similar but different.

    We both deal with poop. I think you've got a great business setup and are positioned for growth in the South Atlanta market.

    BTW-I've made some brief efforts working on a project South of Atlanta, a client/childhood friend of mine asked me to perform due diligence /construction/engineering services on it when it moves. We'll see where it goes when the market turns. It could be big.
  10. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    Where is it if you do not mind?
    You can email me if you like.

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