Experiences Of A Septic Inspector

Septic InspectorIn the wastewater industry, funny experiences are bound to come up. Albert Royster, a wastewater professional for 26 years, has had a number of interesting challenges and his fair share of funny moments. He writes about many of his stories in his new book, Onsite Management, but shares some excerpts below with our readers.

—Performing a soil profile in an open field became more of a challenge after I returned to my work vehicle to find a goat in my seat staring at my paperwork. Thankfully, I got his attention before he made lunch out of my day’s work.

—Monitoring sites where treated septage is land applied was a routine assignment working in Marion County (FL). The neighboring businesses had advised me of prolonged offensive odors when they arrived at the beginning of their day. The challenge came when a hauler decided to dump his untreated
load at 2:30 am after finding out the activity was noted by Mr. Inspector and his pH level was between 7 and 8, not 12.

—Monitoring lift stations became routine in some communities I worked in. However, it was not routine for a law enforcement officer to question my presence in a fenced area where a master lift station needed some attention. My key to the city was literally a key to access lift stations in a certain municipality. The officer did not accept my answer. The public works director had to convince the law on my behalf of my intent to provide public service. I even used the security code to disarm the silent alarm to the property.

—On one occasion I was checking elevations for a site needing a septic repair. The laser transit was in use and a neighbor walked over to me and pleaded that I not take his picture with the transit. So watch out for those con artists in your community. They come out and do not appreciate pictures.

—Dogs and cats enjoy playing in newly installed drainfields. They like to run over the mounds of dirt and play chase row by row and around the open pit. Be watchful when you leave a site and see children and pets. Be reminded to keep manholes secured. When you leave a site, let Mom remind you to leave things the way you found them.

—In dealing with investigations pertaining to sanitary nuisance complaints, case by case can vary pending on the findings noted during the visit. I have worked conditions with open sewer clean outs, surfacing of sewage above the septic tank and drainfield and overflowing lift stations. There have been instances when faulty plumbing has resulted in sewage running down the street, not just on the property where the nuisance originated.

Other experiences in life and working in the septic trade as an inspector are noted in my book Onsite Management. The content reflects on rejection, leaving a legacy, and getting through when challenges and change come. Understanding your path in life and keeping focus on what brings meaning will stand out in difficult situations. Copies are available at seminar events where Royster speaks on industry issues regarding wastewater treatment or to order your copy, contact him at Doctorseptic@cfl.rr.com.

Story by Jennifer Taylor and Albert Royster

Albert Royster obtained his B.A. in Secondary Education: Biology from Warner Southern College in Lake Wales. He was employed at Marion County Health Department as the County Septage Coordinator from 1990 to 2002. Currently, he is an Environmental Specialist at Volusia County Health Department. The Florida Septic Tank Association recognized Royster as the Inspector of the Year in 1997. The Florida Environmental Health Association recognized him as the outstanding Environmental Health Professional in 2010. He has written several articles on septage treatment and wastewater related issues. Royster is a state licensed drinking water and wastewater treatment plant operator.
He completed a septic technical manual and two self published books.

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