Septic Tank Treatments

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The following information covers septic tank treatments since the original inception of the septic tank, cesspool and drain field or leach field dating back to the mid 1800’s.

Septic system treatments have been a topic of discussion throughout the industry since the 1800’s when they were believed to have been invented by the French home owner John Mouras. Mouras is believed to have designed a septic tank and built a prototype fabricated from concrete and stone which required virtually no septic tank treatment or maintenance to function properly per design. The lateral piping connecting the home to the system was fabricated from clay and mud. Several years later when John Mouras dismantled the unit and to the astonishment of his fellow townsmen found that the tank was virtually empty of any solid organic waist, containing only liquid effluent with a thin floating scum layer. Mouras then approached a scientist of the day with his new invention and submitted an application for patent. The application was granted in the year 1881. The septic tank system then made its way to the United States of America in 1883. Septic systems have been a mandatory home amenity ever since.
Family that maintains a healthy septic tank

The matter in which the solids had dissipated was not completely clear to Mouras and his fellow scientist. What was very clear was that his system for the treatment of solid organic household waste was very effective. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Mouras had stumbled across the process we commonly refer to today as digestation or the anaerobic digestion process. The human body produces a natural occurring coli form type of bacteria that creates an action within a septic tank that helps to break down the solids in the wastewater creating a byproduct of carbon dioxide and effluent or water. The gradual process that the organic solid waste undergoes is an anaerobic digestion.

Anaerobic digestion is a natural and fairly basic process in which microorganisms break down biodegradable solid organic material in an environment where oxygen is not present. The process is also widely used in community waste water treatment plants in treating house hold wastewater sludge’s and organic wastes that would otherwise be destined to be deposited in landfills or incinerator. With out the anaerobic digestion process, waste water would also find its way into our freshwater lakes, streams, rivers and water sheds causing disease and contamination.

The introduction of anti bacterial products such as hand soaps, household cleaners and bleaches has been blamed for having a negative impact in the way our septic tanks and cesspit digest organic solids. The anaerobic digestion process has been compromised by the influx of these products. Antibacterial products appear to be weakening or killing our systems bacteria causing a lack of digestion of solids, sludge and scum in the septic systems - requiring most systems to utilize a septic tank treatment to supplement the natural strains. Solids, fats, oils and greases are not being broken down at a rate sufficient to prevent their movement into the drain field. Without digestion, the septic tank will over fill. The solids, sludge and scum will make their way past the septic tank into the drain field. The solids will typically convert into a black tar like substance clogging soil pores, resulting in a septic system failure. This black tar like substance is referred to as (bio-mat). Without the presents of a strong bacterial presents, the systems must be pumped out periodically due to the lack of digestion.
newer style septic tank and drain field

High bacterial count shock treatments (a common septic tank treatment process) are often successfully employed into the failing septic system. This will cause the digestion process to reactivate breaking down solid sludge and bio-mat restoring the system and drain field lateral lines to original condition. The process of bacterial shock treatment is becoming a common inexpensive treatment of failing septic systems as an alternative to replacing the septic tank and drain field at a cost of several thousands of dollars. Chemical treatments such as toxic acids and additives are typically a short term alternative treatment that will render the systems bacteria dead, killing-off the needed septic tank bacteria. You may receive a temporary reduction of clogs, solids, sludge and scum. This will only be a short lived and last as long as the treatment is concentrated and activated. Bacterial septic tank treatment on the other hand, will continue to grow and multiply creating a healthy septic system environment.

Some chemical septic tank treatments or harsh chemical additives can actually damage the septic system. Yeast can cause frothing and excessive activity resulting in coagulation of greases. This agitation forces solid waste into the drain field, clogging the soil or drain field. Other septic chemicals additives intended to kill tree roots or unclog clogged leach field soils can contaminate the environment. If using a root killer in your drain field, it is important to use a bacterial environmentally friendly product that will be safe for your septic system.Watch what goes down the drain. Controlling what goes into the water that enters the septic system is just as important as the amount of water that flows into the system. We have listed just a few items below that will give you some insight into the (Do’s and Don'ts) of septic systems.

• Use water saving shower heads and faucet aerators. • Install water saving low flow toilets. • Repair leaking toilets, drains and faucets (ad food coloring to the bowl or drain to detect leaks). • Make sure floor and roof drains are not connected to the sewage system. • Make sure floor and roof drains are not connected to the sewage system. • Use water saving washers and space out the time between washings. This will limit the flow of gray water to the drain field. • Never dispose of toxic waste or hazardous chemicals such as paint, household cleansers and oils. Dumping these items down your drain can contaminate groundwater. • Never put plastic, cloth, or unnecessary paper products down the septic system. • Avoid using house hold cleaning products that contain anti bacteria properties. These products will kill the live bacteria that are essential to the digestion of the septic system. • Avoid using garbage disposals - they will accelerate the accumulation of solids in the system causing clogs or damage. • Always maintain your septic system to prevent costly repairs with a potent septic tank treatment that is capable of breaking down sludge while simultaneously battling today’s common household detergents.

• In the event you do experience a build up of sludge’s and organic wastes or blockage, always consider all natural methods for septic tank treatments as opposed to a chemical solution.
septic safe toilet

The most common, practical and proven method of unclogging a septic system is to shock the system with a high count bacteria product followed up with a monthly bacterial maintenance program. A good bacterial septic tank shock treatment loaded directly into the system will normally open a drainfield digesting bio-mat in 1 to 5 weeks. Introduce a monthly maintenance program and you will avoid repairs and excessive pump outs now and down the road.

By: Bradley Skierkowski