Baumbach’s Formula: ingenuity, Inventiveness and Industry

Baumbach’s Formula: ingenuity, Inventiveness and Industry

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 demonstration.” That’s what Thomas Burke said about W.J. Baumbach, Sr., an Arlington, VA., plumbing contractor who solved his exasperating flood problem.

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 Burke’s 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 basement fixtures.

“But, with the next storm,” Burke said, “we all got zapped. There was three feet of water and sewage in my basement.”

The county’s 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 didn’t know what to do. But Baumbach seemed like he had an awful lot of savvy.”

Baumbach’s 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 hadn’t done anything with it, though, because I had nomotivation before this. I told................