Septic Tips | Septic Maintenance & Covid-19
In this edition of Septic Tips, let’s look at three areas of concern in maintaining a healthy septic system.
- The discussion of the bacteria necessary to break down the solids in your septic tank, and those making it out into the leachfield.
In the January 2020 Septic Tips article, two different types of bacteria necessary in a healthy septic system were mentioned: aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. What is the difference between these two bacteria? Aerobic bacteria need oxygen to live and anaerobic bacteria do not. In the septic tank itself, anaerobic bacteria is the predominate kind of bacteria that breaks down approximately 90% of the solid material (human waste, etc.). Anaerobic bacteria act to change solid organic matter into methane gas and carbon dioxide (CO2). There are aerobic septic tank systems that introduce oxygen by pumping it into the tank so aerobic bacteria can live, but can be expensive to install and maintain. Always use caution when you open the lid on your septic tank because some of the gases can be lethal if inhaled directly.
10% of smaller solids that make it out of the septic tank and into the leachfield, is generally consumed by aerobic bacteria. Aerobic bacteria convert solids into carbon dioxide, and help to control the thickness of the biomass that filters the liquid effluent back into the soil profile. When your leach line begins to back up because of inadequate infiltration, the aerobic bacteria can die due to lack of oxygen.
A very important reminder here is to be aware of what you are putting down the drain and into your septic system. DO NOT put cleaning agents like disinfectants, anti-bacterial products, and bleach down your drain, as you will be killing the aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, the two important bacteria necessary for a functioning system. When these two forms of bacteria are allowed to function, it will go a long way into making your septic system work optimally.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, how does Shelter In Place (SIP) affect our septic systems like never before?
Over the past several months, and who knows for how many more weeks to come, most of us are pretty much stuck at home. This mandated SIP situation puts extra pressure on your septic system. A lot more water is being used because you are home all day, flushing the toilet more often, and doing things that are normally done at work or school. This home activity easily puts 30% or more pressure on your septic system. One tip is to spread washing clothes throughout the week instead of doing it all in one day. Another important tip is to add LeachLife and LeachLife Plus to your system. LeachLife Plus will not only add the soluble calcium and sulfur necessary to allow the free flow of liquid effluent into the soil profile; but will also add Enzyme Bacteria Concentrate (EBC) to give your system an aerobic and anaerobic bacterial boost, and eliminate any solids that may be clogging up leach lines. EBC also contains enzymes that will help alleviate fats and oils that can clog lines.
- Basic rules concerning proper maintenance of septic leach lines.
Most importantly, do you know where your leachfield is? If not, find out. Plain and simple, if your septic leachfield fails, your whole system fails.
Two rules to always follow: The first rule is to never park cars or heavy equipment on top of your leach field. This could ruin your whole system by causing soil compaction, and/or crushed and broken pipes that could lead to liquids not being able to infiltrate into the soil in the leachfield. The second rule is to never plant trees over or near your leachfield. Roots move in search of moisture. The whole system could default if roots get into and clog up drainage in your leachfield. It’s best to plant grass on top of your leachfield, and never overlay it with black top.
Keep in mind, a new septic system, depending on size, can cost $30,000 or more, so it is extremely important to regularly maintain your system. LeachLife and LeachLifePlus do that for you.
Both LeachLife, and LeachLifePlus act as the “MEAN DOG IN THE JUNKYARD” by displacing sodium from the soil particles allowing for better water infiltration.
Both LeachLife, and LeachLifePlus contain calcium and sulfur in a totally-soluble, thiosulfate form. For decades, these products have been successfully used in agriculture to help with water penetration in soils. Your leachfield is nothing more than a small farm. We are now offering these products to septic system owners.