Jed and Andrea Frank's new business, Snake River Septic, opened recently. The duo want to provide speedy and quality service to local county customers. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).

VALE – The status of a septic tank isn’t something many people give much thought.

Until it stops working.

“When your septic tank goes out, your household shuts down. You can’t use the restroom. You can’t shower. You can’t do the dishes,” said Jed Frank.

Frank knows a lot about septic tanks and he understands just how important the hidden – but crucial – sanitation devices are for a rural home or farm.

The Vale resident believes his new business, Snake River Septic, will fill a local service gap.

Frank, who works at Romans’ Precision Irrigation full time, decided to go into business for himself earlier this spring.

“I always wanted to start up my own company and build my own future,” said Frank.

Frank said he plans to stay with Romans’ until his part-time gig gains momentum.

Frank owns one septic truck now and plans to bring a second one online by autumn.

He admits his business fills a niche – and helped convince him to open it.

“I was always looking at something that had low competition and, for the most part, you know, you don’t have to fight for margins just because it is what it is. Not a lot of people want to go out and mess with people’s waste. But it doesn’t bother me,” said Frank.

Frank said he wants to provide service to rural “out of the way places.”

“There was this woman in Juntura who looked to get someone to come out and pump her septic tank. She called around and there are two companies in Ontario, and that’s it. No one had time to come out. She ended up having to call someone out of Boise and paid a fortune,” said Frank.

Frank said he wants to make sure that doesn’t happen to his customers.

“I am a small-town guy and I want to serve the small communities,” he said.

Frank, 32, said his business will offer the “whole package.”

“Everything to pumping out septic tanks to repairing tanks that are damaged and any kind of drain field that is damaged. I will also be doing new installation,” said Frank.

Frank said he will also do septic tank inspections for real estate agents and insurance companies.

“I’m kind of a one-stop shop,” said Frank.

Frank said an overflowing septic tank creates big problems for a homeowner fast.

That is why, he said, it is important for homeowners to do regular maintenance on their septic tanks.

“It is so important that people have their septic tanks pumped every three to five years,” said Frank.

Homeowners should also mark where their septic tank lid is, said Frank.

“When I pull up to a house I literally have no clue where the lid is. It might be four or 12 inches deep,” said Frank.

Frank said his fee for service varies, based on a variety of factors.

“It depends where you are located and how accessible your tank is,” said Frank.

Generally, he said, the charges may run from $375 to $500.

And he takes calls 24 hours a day, because he knows a septic problem can be an emergency.

“I had mine back up. So, I am totally about after-hours calls. I am not an 8-to-5 guy,” said Frank.

Frank said after he adds a second pumper truck, he will try to expand again.

“Next year my plan is to jump into porta-potties,” he said.

Frank said he chose Vale to open his business because it is “really good about supporting a local business.”

“That really helped me push forward. The people here in Vale have accepted my wife and my family. So, I am really looking forward to serving Vale,” said Frank.

Frank can be reached at 541-709-1508.

Reporter Pat Caldwell: pat@malheurenterprise.com or 541-473-3377.

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