septic-tank-coversSeptic systems are more than just a series of pipes and drains: they’re living environments. The microbial system within, which includes bacteria, yeasts, and enzymes, plays an active role in both breaking down larger waste products and in clarifying water in preparation for reuse. Let’s take a look at just what is happening underneath the surface.

An Introduction to Septic System Structure

Your standard septic system begins indoors, as water, cleaners, waste products, and more enter the various drains and pipes of the home or business. These materials converge into a holding vessel called a “septic tank”, which is often buried underground nearby. These tanks have two chambers, and as material builds up in the initial chamber, the liquids (or “effluent”) are drained into a secondary one through small holes in the dividing wall. Effluent then passes out of the tank, into a series of gravel-lined trenches known as a “leach” or “drainage” field, which provides a layer of basic filtering before the liquids return to the water table. Solid waste remaining in the tank must be physically pumped out on a regular basis.

How Microbes Come Into Play

Because these solid materials must remain within the septic tank (or risk clogging the drainage field and causing serious backup), they must be removed with the use of septic pumping trucks. What may be surprising is how infrequently pumping is needed (the EPA recommends once every 3-5 years).

It’s all thanks to vast colonies of microorganisms living within the tank. These work round-the-clock to break down waste materials, converting much of the solids into liquids that join the stream of effluent and gases that simply dissipate through the soil or leach field. A healthy bacterial environment is crucial to maintaining septic system health, and without it, you’ll be facing frequent maintenance and nasty issues.

Are Bacteria-Boosting Additives Worth It?

Numerous companies market products promising to rejuvenate septic bacterial cultures, thereby combating the damage done by solvents like bleach and paint thinner, should they have made their way into the septic system. Some consumers may wonder whether these are truly worth the price.

The fact is that even though harsh chemicals can put a considerable dent into bacterial populations, it’s rather hard to wipe them out entirely. And since these microorganisms have extremely speedy reproductive cycles, most damages can be countered by natural means in mere hours or days, without the need for additives.

Champion Plumbing

If you need septic tank cleaning or help with additives in your septic tank, call the experts at Champion Plumbing. We never charge extra for plumbing services performed on nights or weekends and we always provide a written estimate before the plumbing services are performed. Call 210-393-9617 today!