Innovative Septic Lid Saves Lives

Polylok product allows safety screen to be installed in any 24-inch septic tank riser.
Innovative Septic Lid Saves Lives
At the 2014 Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo International, Justin Setser, left, a regional sales manager for Polylok, explains the features and benefits of the Universal Kid Catcher riser safety screen to visitors.

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They’re the stories everyone in the wastewater industry dreads – child deaths due to accidentally drowning in unprotected septic tanks. Unveiled at the 2014 Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo International (now called WWETT), the Universal Kid Catcher from Polylok aims to prevent those highly publicized tragedies.

“You see stories of kids falling into unsafe septic tanks every year, and the outcome is mostly not pretty,” says Patrick Mulhall, vice president of sales at Polylok. “As a manufacturer of septic system accessories and equipment, we have a responsibility to make sure the product is as safe as possible.”

The Universal Kid Catcher utilizes the company’s popular riser safety screen protection system for use on PVC ribbed pipe, HDPE corrugated pipe and concrete septic tank risers. The kit includes the ledge, along with self-tapping screws that adhere to concrete anchors, and a carbide bit.

“What it basically creates is an expandable ledge that installs inside the existing riser pipe, which the safety screen then rests on,” says Mulhall. “The ledge will fit on any 24-inch riser, not just Polylok risers.” The system will soon be available to fit on 20-inch risers as well.

The product, Mulhall says, is in response to the company’s customers, installers from all over North America, looking out for their customers and their own businesses. The homeowner and installer are ultimately responsible for the safety of the septic tank, and it is imperative to ensure septic tank covers are secure and cannot be collapsed by children or animals. However, should the cover become dislodged or be removed, the Universal Kid Catcher provides another important line of defense against tragedy.

“So much of what we do is driven by the feedback we receive. We’ve been working on this for a year, testing and retesting it to make sure it lives up to the quality standards we’ve set for our products,” says Mulhall. “When you’re talking about people’s lives and livelihoods, there really never is too much testing. Our plan all along was to roll this out at the 2014 Expo, and we hit that. We’re excited by the response so far, and want to collect more.”

The bright yellow, heavy-duty ABS safety screens are available in 12-, 20- and 24-inch versions. They were designed to act as a secondary layer of protection if the riser cover is unknowingly damaged or removed. They fit in the uppermost riser stack of the company’s 12- by 6-, 20- by 6-, 24- by 6-, 20- by 12-, and 24- by 12-inch risers to prevent entry into the tank. Screens have been tested to a 250 pounds per square foot load, and come with a built-in handle.

“The safety screens are becoming more popular every year, to the point where most of our customers install them as a standard feature,” says Mulhall. “The Universal Kid Catcher allows installers to now go back and retrofit existing systems, or install safety screens on any other company’s riser. It really makes any septic system inherently safer.”

Mulhall says initial reaction to the product has been overwhelming. “We try to bring six to eight new products to the Expo every year, and I really can’t remember one that’s gotten this kind of positive response,” he says. “It’s an idea that keeps things simple and is easy to use, but is also extremely important. Seeing such an enthusiastic, positive response to it tells me that it was the right thing to do.” 877/765-9565;


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