Baumbachs Formula: ingenuity,
inventiveness and industry
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Customer service comes first at W.J.
Baumbach, Inc., Arlington, VA.,
and one of the most customer-satisfying
devices to originate at this
firm is a rubber diaphragm which can be
used for suds control or in
conjunction with a flood control pump to
eliminate basement flooding.
He came out and gave us a helluva
Thats what Thomas Burke said about W.J.
Baumbach, Sr., an Arlington, VA., plumbing
contractor who solved his exasperating flood
It all began when Burke bought his home in
Arlington. He knew that the basement had
previously been flooded, but the salesman told him
that the situation had been corrected and there was
nothing to worry about.
And then the rains came.
The sewer system in Burkes neighborhood is set
up to handle both rainwater and wastewater.
During the heavy spring and fall rains, the system
is just not adequate. For three years, whenever the
rains came, they resulted in a backup of water and
sewage into Burks basement. This, in turn,
resulted in a backup of complaints in the offices of
Arlington county officials.
The county, not relishing the expense involved in
renovating the sewers, sent out a plumber who
installed flapper, or backwater, valves in the
But, with the next storm, Burke said, we
zapped. There was three feet of water and sewage
in my basement.
The countys next idea was to install six-inch
backwater valves out near the street with manual
controls so the residents could close them down
when flooding threatened. Burke, however, felt
that all due tolerance and patience had been
exhausted. So he called Baumbach.
Why Baumbach? The man has a reputation
second to none in the county, Burke said. some
of the other plumbers didnt know what to do. But
Baumbach seemed like he had an awful lot of
Baumbachs savvy comes from over 40 years of
experience in plumbing repair and remodeling. He
has built his business up to keep 30
radio-controlled service trucks busy more than full
time. His journeymen work on commission and are
the highest paid plumbers in the area, he reported.
About six years ago, an apartment house manager
asked him if he could solve a particularly knotty
problem. A basement apartment, which usually
remained vacant due to a problem with suds
backup, had been rented to a woman and her
daughter because the daughter had a heart
condition and could not climb steps. The manager
asked Baumbach if he could stop the suds backup.
Some apartment managers just tell their tenants
not to use heavy suds or bubble bath, Baumbach
said, but I had the idea for a suds control
diaphragm and I thought it would work. I hadnt
done anything with it, though, because I had no
motivation before this. I told................
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