Feb 23, 2019

Are your choices harming the bacteria in your septic tank?

When we hear about bacteria, we cannot help but think about the diseases they cause. It is true. Some bacteria strains are responsible for severe infections and illnesses. However, a few strains exist that specifically help us in the breakdown of organic waste products. If you have a septic system on your property, you know what we are talking about. Millions of colonies of bacteria reside inside the septic tanks. This system relies on the ability of bacteria to break the solid and semi-solid organic compounds down to liquefy them. In other words, all the grease, soap, detergent, fat and dirt we flush down our toilets ends up in the septic system. The bacteria act on organic compounds to simplify them. These bacteria prevent blockages in the plumbing.
Why are bacteria the functional units of every septic system?

Without the colonies of useful bacteria in your septic system, the solid waste will remain almost intact. As the solid keeps accumulating inside the tank, it will result in blockages in your septic system. That is the primary reason behind foul odors emanating from septic systems. However, that is not the worst thing that can happen. Once the solid buildup intensifies, the waste can make its way up to the central drainage system. It can slow your entire drainage system down significantly, increase the foul smell and create an unhealthy environment that can eventually cause backflow and flooding of kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. Not paying enough attention to the health of your septic system can cost you heavily in the long run.

Monitoring the bacterial presence in your septic system is incredibly important to maintain your home drainage. Moisturized tissue papers, coated toilet papers, lotions, hair products and sanitary napkins that you flush down the toilet are non-biodegradable. You should always set up a separate disposal system at home for these products. Every one of these items you introduce into the septic system contributes to the solid load. Since they are non-biodegradable, they keep accumulating until you manually remove them from the system. They also take a severe toll on the health of the microbes in the septic system.

How do we contribute to the depletion of microbes in the septic tanks?

Modern households use significantly high numbers of antibacterial agents. From the simple hand sanitizing wipes, to the anti-bacterial floor cleaner people use can create a disbalance in the microbial content of the septic system. A clean home protects the health and wealth of the homeowners. With good reason, we splurge on anti-microbial kitchen cleaners, bathroom cleaners, floor wipes, anti-microbial soaps and detergents, and general disinfectants.  While using these, we rarely think about the runoff that eventually flows into the septic system. The runoff not only has the washed off, dead or neutralized bacteria but also the disinfecting compounds that we use regularly. These chemical compounds and natural bactericidal enzymes flow directly into the bacterial abode assaulting their health and wellbeing. Since a septic tank is the safe house of bacterial colonies necessary to breakdown the solid waste, the regular flow of these anti-bacterial fluids can kill and lower the level of bacteria in the tank.

How to keep your septic system healthy and the drains clean?

It is imperative for all homeowners to check and maintain their septic tanks periodically. If you are a new owner of a property with a septic system, you should contact a septic system expert in your locality for help. Visit BBB Septic Arkansas to learn all you need to know about septic tank maintenance and cleaning. Here are the two most basic things you can do for keeping your septic system in tiptop shape –
i.                 Only use septic-safe cleaners on your drains
You can find them pretty much in any home improvement store right now. You can also check for discounted ones online. Check the label and the ingredients of the packaging to make sure they are septic system safe.
ii.               Use bleach and antimicrobial cleaners sparingly
When you do use them, make sure to dispose of them separately. Try not to flood your septic system with antimicrobial cleaners and bleach. You should rethink your laundry detergent options. Try to stay away from adding bleach or chlorine-based products in the laundry.

When can you consider adding bacteria to your septic system?

Adding bacteria to the septic system is still controversial. Some studies have concluded the method to be ineffective, while others have shown that it can be beneficial to replenish the colonies of bacteria lost due to past use of antibacterial products. Here’s what you can do –
i.                 If your system is experiencing unnecessary stress due to your previous choices of cleaning agents, you can add useful bacteria to attain stability. However, it is always advisable to speak to a septic system expert in Arkansas before adding any bacteria to the system.
ii.               Adding bacteria to the septic tank is quite easy. You can buy ready-to-use treatments from the store to replenish the good bacteria in the septic tank. These treatments eliminate uncertainty involved in the process of how much or what types of bacteria to add.
iii.             Some studies show that the addition of baker's yeast can replenish the bacterial load in the septic system. Since baker's yeast is safe for consumption, experts believe it is a somewhat safe addition to the septic tanks.

You should always remember that the addition of bacteria and other microbes is NOT the replacement of regular maintenance. If you have not had a professional septic system expert check out your property in the last three to five years, then it is time for you to consider professional maintenance. Adding bacteria to the septic tank can never make up for the lack of pumping septic systems.

If your septic tank is showing signs of the lack of maintenance, you should consult your local Arkansas expert immediately. Maintenance of septic systems can be complicated, and you should never try to handle it on your own unless you have the safety equipment and training. A healthy septic system will keep your drainage and household free from infections and waste products. Invest a little today, for a cleaner tomorrow.

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