Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Education is the Key!!!

This is a simple concept, yet time and time again I see this simple concept ignored and overlooked, EDUCATE.  I see this in precasters not educating customers and plumbers and pumpers not educating homeowners.  There is one thing that we do know as producers, there is a problem.  In previous blogs I have explained the nature of the Thiobicillus bacteria and how it attacks concrete.  I have also explained how precasters are helping the problem, but these are just words.  We have to be the teachers in our own mind and spread the word.  Explain to your customers that we understand we have a cancer in our industry, but we feel this cancer is curable.  It just takes time.  We need to evaluate mixes and this takes time.  The average tank failure is 7-10 years, YEARS, not hours.  If you explain to your customers that you know you have a problem, but you and your organizations are doing something to solve the problem, your customers have no reason to be upset with you.  Explain to them that mixes are being evaluated.  Tests are being done and results are coming in, but definitive answers have not been found.  The person who is in the dark and knows nothing until the problem is staring them in the eyes is the scared person.  That is the person who comes looking for answers and point fingers.  Don’t waste your time with useless guarantees and promises.  Bring the problem out to the open and don’t be afraid to admit you have a problem.  Society was built on exposing problems and fixing them.  Don’t leave your people in the dark!
Similarly, educate your homeowners.  Explain to them that there is a problem in this industry.  It is very unique and we do not have many answers yet.  Again we do not what is going on, but we need years to evaluate its effectiveness.  One of the primary questions I get asked on site in this problem, is how long will my tank last when I notice corrosion?  My answer to that is that it is very tough to estimate.  There is no definitive gauge or timeline on this problem, but the last thing you want to do is say your tank is ok don’t worry, or your tank is junk buy a new one.  A very simple answer would be it is hard to say, your tank’s structural integrity is definitely jeopardized, let’s monitor the situation and see how aggressive the attack is.  It is very easy to jot down some notes, take some pictures on what you have seen and record them for further evaluation.  On your next pumping cycle , service call, or sooner stop by.   I know we are all busy people, but monitoring and educating is the key to solving this problem.  The last thing you want to do is put your name on a guaranteed timeline.  Evaluate and Educate.  Another simple question is how did this happen?  This is usually where I put the ball in their court.  Ask them simple questions, what kind of cleaners do you use? Have you been taking prescription medications?  How many people are living in the home? Do you have any information regarding the groundwater and surrounding ground conditions? Any relevant information?  People tend to feel better if they are part of the solution and you would be surprised how many answers you can get from homeowners.  Again don’t ignore this problem.  It will not go away.  Instead bring it out in the open and EDUCATE!