Bacteria in a septic tank play a very important role in its maintenance. These bacteria are responsible for breaking down the solids which settle at the bottom of the septic tank and start the decomposition process. Natural bacteria which are present in the septic tank start transforming the 50% of solid waste into gases and liquids.
There are basically two types of bacteria which are present in a septic tank – aerobic bacteria and anaerobic bacteria.
Aerobic bacteria – These bacteria need oxygen to survive. First, they break down the organic waste and then they feed on it. These are very sensitive to the environmental changes.
Anaerobic bacteria – As aerobic bacteria need high amount of oxygen to survive, anaerobic bacteria need very little to no oxygen to survive in a septic tank. The work of anaerobic bacteria is to eat, digest and excrete the matter as soon as they reach the tank.
It is very important to maintain the balance between these two bacteria in a septic tank for optimum performance. Without these bacteria, there will be no action in the septic tank of cleaning the solid waste.
It is very harmful to add any kind of bleach or cleaners in any quantity to the septic tank as treatment for smells or blockages. While potentially killing unwanted bacteria in a septic tank, these treatments also kill a large amount of beneficial bacteria. Without beneficial bacteria, your tank won’t be able to break down the waste and will require more frequent pumping leading to increased costs.
The waste eaten or transformed by bacteria is converted into gases and liquids, but sludge starts to build up after this process at the bottom of the system which needs to pump out. Ideally, your septic tank should be pumped out every 3-4 years depending on use and care. There are many septic tank treatment products available on the market to fight against back-up, smell and blockage problems, preventing costly and regular pumping.
To maintain the ecosystem of the septic tank for its smooth working, don’t introduce toxic things in your system like bleach, paint, detergent, chemicals, etc. If you do not maintain your system properly these products can also leak out into the drain field making it unsanitary.
There are some other ways to add beneficial bacteria to your septic tank. You can try making bacteria activators yourself at home. Below is the recipe of making a bacteria activator:
Take 4 cups of brown sugar, 2 packs of active dry yeast and 4 cups of hot water.
Mix them in a bucket, stir it well and leave it for 20 minutes. After that, flush the entire mixture into your toilet at once. Night is the best time to use this activator to give it the time for the treatment. For maintenance, you can use this activator once every few months or on a regular basis as it will cost you little to keep bacteria happy inside the tank.
You can also put 3-4 rotten tomatoes in your septic tank by squashing them and flushing them down the toilet or grinding them in a garbage disposal. This also helps provide good bacteria to your septic system to help break down your waste.
When possible, use biodegradable and septic-safe products in your system and you’ll have a happy septic system for a long time to come!