A Hole in One Rehab Project in Connecticut

Cutting up the greens of a golf course to replace a deteriorating septic tank is hardly an ideal situation for a country club. But when a concrete septic tank at Burning Tree Country Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, severely deteriorated, replacement became a real, although undesirable, option.


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This private country club, which was founded in 1962, features amenities including an 18-hole golf course that has hosted U.S. Open Qualifiers and Met PGA events; an eight-lane, 25-m pool with a diving well; Har-Tru tennis courts; a platform tennis complex; and multiple member and event dining options. Disrupting the golf course fairways meant not only an inconvenience and an eyesore to the members but also a costly endeavor.

The management team at Burning Tree Country Club noticed that the septic tank pumps were failing continuously. They first thought the problem was broken pumps; however, it soon became evident that the problem was not the pumps but the debris accumulating in and contaminating the pumps’ D boxes, causing the pumps to fail. The culprit was not the pumps but corrosion from the septic tanks making its way to the pumps. In addition, the pumps were overworked due to the inflow and infiltration (I&I) accumulating from the deteriorating tanks allowing groundwater to penetrate and make its way to the pumps. The pumps were thus pushing out on average, five-times more volume per day, resulting in infrastructure overuse and inefficiency.

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Once the management team at Burning Tree Country Club determined that the deteriorated tank was the cause, they considered several options, including crushing the deteriorated tank and replacing it with a new one or rerouting the sewage and using the deteriorated tank as a spillover tank. Both costly options that involved digging up the fairway, and neither presented a solution the country club wanted to execute. However, Ralph Savy & Sons Masonry and Marilyn Baron, of CLADLINER, presented an effective, much more affordable rehabilitation solution using CLADLINER products.

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Ralph Savy & Sons is a family-owned and -operated, full-service contracting, masonry, and restoration firm in Connecticut that has been a coating expert in the rehabilitation industry for more than 50 years. When presented with the deteriorating septic tank, they suggested using CLADLINER to restore the structure.

CLADLINER products designed specifically for rehabilitating water/wastewater structures combine the simplicity of a cementitious liner with the performance of a high-build epoxy liner. CLADLINER offers high chemical resistance and antimicrobial performance in a single system and addresses corrosion caused by acid attacks, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and I&I while protecting concrete.

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“This product is excellent, and it provides an affordable rehabilitation option for wastewater environments. It is a unique product backed with a 10-year warranty. This is by far the most cost-effective, longest guaranteed system on the market today,” says Ralph Savy, of Ralph Savy & Sons Masonry.


CLADLINER’s blue color distinguished it from the bare concrete, allowing visual cove rage assurance for the applicator.

Surface Preparation

When dealing with septic tanks, flow redirection must be considered. Rafael Sotil, of Universal Septic, redirected the flow using a vac-truck with a steel tank that has the capacity to hold up to 4,200 gallons. Utilizing this septic vac-truck allowed for draining of the tanks preceding the tank being rehabilitated thus eliminating the need to close any surrounding buildings, including the main clubhouse allowing for a seamless application that did not interfere with the use of any facilities.

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tank before application

A high-pressure blast with an oscillating nozzle was used to remove loose debris from the substrate before a repair mortar was used to patch the most severely deteriorated areas.

The surface preparation proceeded like that of other coatings. A high-pressure blast with an oscillating nozzle was used to remove loose debris from the substrate before a repair mortar was used to patch the most severely deteriorated areas.

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CLADLINER was then mixed and applied by spray in two half-inch coats to the 9-ft x 16-ft x 10.6-ft structure. The equipment and supplies needed were minimal, especially compared to the heavy equipment required had the tank been replaced, which would have been a concern on the golf course. Another benefit of CLADLINER is that the product has no VOCs; therefore, it does not require forced air or other cumbersome personal protective equipment (PPE). The vibrant blue color distinguished it from the bare concrete, allowing visual coverage assurance for the applicator.

tank before application

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A Final Look

Replacing this septic tank would have cost Burning Tree Country Club at least three times more than the cost to rehabilitate it, and because the septic tank was located directly in front of the main clubhouse with a portion below the cobblestone-curbed driveway, restoring the area would have required a costly repair of the fairway and surrounding areas.

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It’s important to note that this rehab was executed in February. Cold weather often hinders project execution during winter months in the northeast; however, following the technical data sheet recommendations and using simple measures to ensure the product and surface temperatures were within the suggested temperature ranges allowed for a smooth application, even during the height of the winter.

The rehabilitated tank is part of a five-tank system, and the success of this application may lead to the rehabilitation of other tanks within the system posing similar problems.

Silvia Caputi is marketing coordinator at CLADLINER.

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