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Swehla company makes way for A4 Septic

By Staff | Jun 18, 2017

Denny and Linda Swehla, left, are handing over the keys to their excavation, pumping and septic business to their nephew Jason and his family. From left to right, next to the Swehlas are Jason’s wife Angie, daughters Alyssa, Addison, and Abigail along with three-year-old son Jacob, and Jason Nowak. A4 Septic is named after the four Nowak girls, Angie, Abigail, Addisen and Alyssa.

Being in the septic business is a messy job, but somebody has to do it. And for the past 30 years, it has been Denny and Linda Swehla. But now, there’s a change in the management.

Denny and Linda Swehla have been the owners and operators of Swehla Trucking Excavating and Pumping, now named A4 Septic, since 1985. That is when Denny Swehla, of Easton, began his septic pumping and excavating business.

Now Denny, along with his wife and office manager, Linda, are preparing for retirement as they hand over the reins of their business to Denny and Linda’s nephew, Jason Nowak and his wife, Angela.

Nowak, who grew up in Wells, says he simply asked his uncle one day if he, Nowak, would be willing to step in for Swehla, eventually. And, as family does around Faribault County, Swehla took Nowak under his wing and they began to work together on jobs around the county.

Swehla says his business has stretched as far north as Mankato, as far south as Northern Iowa, as far east as Freeborn County and as far west as Martin County. He also says the growth of his company began with his inability to wait patiently.

“When I worked at excavating sites, and we were putting systems in, we would have to wait for the pumpers,” he says. “I got tired of waiting for the pumpers, so I bought one of my own and did it myself.”

The investment was a bold one, but one that has worked well, not only for the business, but for the communities the Swehla team helps as well.

Not only did the Swehla’s business have excavation and pumping, they also added a few port-a-potties to their bag of tricks back in 2000.

Swehla says over the past 30 years, many things have changed, including the credentials it takes to become a certified excavator and pumper.

“We do classes through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to get our certification training,” says Swehla.

“I’ve taken all of the proper classes and training to take over,” says Nowak. “And I have experience working in coal mines and working in construction, and I have a degree in auto body repair, too.”

Now that Nowak has taken all of the proper measures, he says he is ready to take over the family business.

One of his first steps was renaming the business to A4 Septic.

Where did Nowak get the name? There just so happen to be very four important women in his life with names that begin with the letter A.

For Nowak, it is all about family and serving the community he grew up in. After Nowak graduated from United South Central School in Wells, he moved to Casper, Wyoming, where he met his wife, Angela, and her daughter Abigail, who was around five years old at the time and is now 16.

Jason and Angela were married and eventually returned to the area. They had three more children Addisen, who is seven, Alyssa, who is five, and Jacob, who is very proud to be three-years-old.

So, all together, Angela, Abigail, Addisen and Alyssa make up the four A’s to create A4 Septic.

And, Nowak knows the importance of family and has instilled those qualities into his work as well. When a family is in need of his services, Nowak says he can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We know septic systems won’t wait,” he says. “Even if it’s in the dead of the night, in the dead of winter. We can be there.”

Nowak says the easiest way to describe what a septic system is and what the Swehla company does is this: an on-site septic system is like a miniature wastewater treatment system, and as time goes on a build up of solids begins to form.

Both Nowak and Swehla say according to both county and MPCA?standards, your septic system should be pumped every three years due to a natural build up of solids.

“It is much easier on your pumps and, on down the septic line, easier on the drain fields and mound systems,” says Nowak. “There are lots of resources online regarding maintaining your septic system. It’s when you don’t maintain your septic system that you run into problems and we have to come in.”

More often than not, Nowak says it is the result of build up in a septic tank that requires A4 Septic to pay a visit. However, other issues like improper instalation, older rock systems, and pump failure can create issues, like backup in a basement, to happen.

So how does this team of professionals get the mess out? Nowak says to trust him when he says it is messy.

“We have to take a tank and a hose and add fresh water to your septic system when that build up of solids happens,” he says. “Once there is a better solids to liquid ratio, we suck it up, and take it out.”

Nowak says there is nothing pretty about the work he and his uncle do, but it is an absolute necessity. And Nowak is incredibly thankful to have Swehla as a mentor in the field.

“He has helped me out in so many different ways,” says Nowak of his uncle. “He is the expert of all experts, in my opinion, and it takes so much time to accrue the experience and the knowledge Denny has on this type of work.”

Now that Swehla has passed down his knowledge to Nowak, they say they are ready to move forward thanks to some help from the Faribault County Economic Development Authority (EDA) to assist in a few start up costs to help Nowak take over the business.

“I am so proud to say we are family owned and operated. We could not have been able to do this without the help of the EDA and Denny and Linda, and of course my wife,” says Nowak.

Nowak says he runs the nuts and bolts of the business from the Easton garage that holds the proper equipment for the business, but his wife runs the office work from their home in Wells.