Why You Need To Maintain a Balance of Good Bacteria in Your Septic Tank


In every septic tank there's a buildup of scum. That scum represents the top layer of your septic tank (not counting air). Below it is wastewater, and below that is the solid waste known as sludge.

In a well-balanced septic tank, naturally growing bacteria will break down the scum layer. When there's an imbalance, the scum layer grows faster than the bacteria can break it down. There are a few reasons why this can occur.

There are Too Many Floating Solids in Your Septic Tank

The scum layer consists of oils, grease, fat, and other similar substances that naturally float upwards. These oils fall under the category of "light solids."

Most households drain light solids as a matter of course. However, bacteria doesn't break these things down quickly, so too much of them too fast can cause the scum level to grow far quicker than it normally would.

There are also things like cigarette butts, which don't sink to the sludge level as other solids do. Instead, they float in the scum level and take up space.

You Use Too Many Bacteria Killers

If the packaging says "antibacterial" than you should probably believe it. Using a lot of antibacterial soaps and other products can and will destroy some of the bacteria in your septic system. This also goes for other products that can kill off bacteria, such as bleach and some disinfectants.

No, these products probably won't kill all of the bacteria. That stuff growing in your septic tank is actually quite resilient. But these products can kill large swaths of the bacteria. As it struggles to grow back, both the scum and sludge levels of your septic tank will grow.

When the Levels Get To Be Too Much

The levels of sewage can rise swiftly in your septic tank. This can lead to a blockage of the drainage pipe and a severe clog. A clogged septic tank means you will need to have an emergency tank pumping.

If clogged for too long, you will almost certainly have to deal with a septic tank backup. And nobody should have to suffer through that particular type of ordeal. If you do nothing for too long, your septic tank can suffer from irreparable damage.

Why You Need Your Septic Tank Pumped

When you have your septic tank pumped, the sludge and scum levels are measured. The contractor can tell you how often you need your tank pumped based on how much waste was pumped.

If they find you've been on a routine schedule of every few years, they may warn you that your daily activities are not allowing the bacteria in your septic tank to do its job. You will need more frequent pumping or you will need to change your household habits.

So help the bacteria in your tank to do its job. All you have to do is watch what you put down the drain and schedule routine septic tank inspections. Inspections and pumping should occur routinely based on the size of the tank and the size of the household.

The more people living in your home, the more waste they'll produce and the more often you might need a professional to come take a look and pump the tank. If you are concerned about your septic tank, speak to a professional such as one from Zeb Watts Septic & Underground, Inc.


11 June 2015

preventing septic tank overflows

Moving into the country was something that I had always dreamed of doing, but when it finally became a reality, I had to learn an important lesson the most difficult way. I found out that the big mound in my yard was a part of the septic system and when a septic system is not properly cared for, it can back up into your home. That was an incident that I never wanted to relive. After the days of cleanup were complete, I began learning everything that I could about maintaining my septic system. Go through my blog to learn what you need to do to ensure you don't have to go through the horrifying mess that I did.