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Tips on How to Conserve and Recycle Water: An Interview with Corbett Irrigation

By Kristen Bosse

Please describe a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

We are an irrigation company that has been in business for about 15 years. We provide irrigation services and installation to a variety of homes and businesses in and around Middlesex County and the Boston area. We also specialize in several unique areas of the irrigation industry such as rain water harvesting systems, water conservation, well installation and management, minor utility trenching, and pump systems.

How did you get into this line of work?

I started with Corbett Inc. about thirteen years ago after college. I met the owner Brian Perwak at WPI while we were both studying engineering. He was beginning the business at the time and after spending less than 2 years in the engineering field I realized how much I missed working outside. I started working a couple weekends here and there to help out and now I'm part of the family.

Would you mind briefly describing the process of installing an irrigation system?

An irrigation system is typical installed by means of Vibratory plowing in the Northeast area of the country. The machine creates a slice in the ground and installs a pipe along behind it as it moves. Irrigation heads are then connected on these lines, which are then connected to valves, and a controller will activate each of these zones one at a time. It's similar to an electrical circuit where heads are like the lights and valves are like the breakers or switches. The placement of the heads is extremely important to assure that the system has proper distribution uniformity. The more efficiently the system is designed, the less likely that any water will be wasted. The flow and pressure of the water source available will determine how many heads are able to operate at once, and thus the number of zones required. The different types of turf or plant material, sun, shade, and slopes should all be considered when designing the zones.

It talks about renewable rainwater systems on your website. This seems like a fairly new and innovative service. Has it been popular over the past few years? What are some of the benefits of utilizing this system?

Rainwater harvesting is becoming more popular, especially with the recent "green" movement. With the growing of the world's population, there is a larger strain than ever on our local rivers, streams and aquifers. For this reason rainwater harvesting and grey water systems are becoming more and more prevalent. They reduce the impact on the local water supplies and aquifers, provide untreated water to the landscape, and often help reduce other drainage issues caused by excessive rain. They really work excellent if they are engineered and installed properly. We see them becoming more and more popular at schools, municipalities, and some residential homes. They typically work by harvesting rainwater from the downspouts of a roof or other drainage method into a tank. A pump in the tank then supplies the water to the irrigation system. The largest drawback of them is usually the installation of the tank or the collection lines. In order to be effective, the tank installed must be large enough to collect as much rain as possible in order to support the landscape's needs for several cycles. This usually requires a large excavation site and so it is usually only recommended for new construction. However, there are a wide variety of smaller tank sizes and styles available that can be installed with little disturbance to the landscape. They may not provide enough water to run the entire irrigation system, but often are used to supply a serious of faucets for hand watering throughout the property.

What specific key qualities should homeowners be looking for in a good irrigation company?

The qualities that they should be looking for in an irrigation company are similar to those that they should look for in any service company. The company should be organized, courteous, and responsive with scheduling and call backs. Most importantly they should take pride in their work. As far as technical capabilities I would recommend that someone choose a company with a CIC (Certified Irrigation Contractor) or CLIA (Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor) certification. These certifications are provided by the Irrigation Association of America and assure you that the contractor has been properly educated in the trade.

What should new homeowners or inexperienced homeowners be aware of when dealing with an irrigation company for the first time?

I would recommend that most of all they make sure the company is thorough. When reviewing a system, they check to make sure that every component is working properly. All heads should be checked for proper placement, functionality, and adjustment. Probably one of the most important items to address is the rain sensor. It should be tested to assure it is working correctly, which means making sure it is in the proper place. Many sensors are located on the sides of houses and even under eaves. They only work well if nature's elements can get to them. There are a variety of wireless ones on the market today that will allow it to be placed where it will collect rain and be able to properly dry out. Finally they should be attentive to proper scheduling. Most lawns should be scheduled to water every other day as a maximum to encourage deep root growth. Established plants should require watering only a couple days a week. By scheduling deep root watering you will increase the size of the root zones and help the turf or plant material to grow stronger. This will help reduce stress in times of drought and higher heat indexes.

What sets your business apart from other comparable companies? Is there anything you believe you do better or different?

Our attention to detail and customer service has helped us to create an excellent reputation. We constantly look for ways to improve on our education and knowledge of the industry. Our methods for design, installation, and service have proven to be some of the most effective around. But the true reason for our success is the staff that we have. By having an organized and dedicated office staff and management team we are able to provide unmatched customer service to all our clients. Our service and installation techs education, commitment, courteous attitude, and sense of pride in their work enables us to take on almost any challenge.

What are your favorite projects to work on?

The projects that we enjoy most are the more challenging ones. The rain water harvesting, in depth system analysis, water conservation, green roofs, well management, and pump systems projects are usually the most interesting. We enjoying having to problem solve or come up with new processes to complete the task. They also seem to be very rewarding when you see the job completed and operating properly.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you?

The best way for people to contact us is to email our office at

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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

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