Your septic tanks maintenance relies on natural processes to break down organic solids until they are safe to release into the soil (and thus the groundwater). Naturally occurring bacteria in your tank are primarily responsible for doing the heavy lifting here. When the processed liquid (called effluent) is released into the drain field, other natural and physical processes break down remaining organic matter from there.\n\n
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One in five American homes runs on a septic tank instead of a community sewer line.
Is your home one of them? If so, there are several things you need to know about how to keep
your septic system running smoothly.
Today we’ll be looking at the simple step of using an enzyme formula to keep the good bacteria
after doing the septic system clean in your tank working well!
Why your septic system needs good bacteria
Your septic tanks maintenance relies on natural processes to break down organic solids until
they are safe to release into the soil (and thus the groundwater). Naturally occurring bacteria in
your tank are primarily responsible for doing the heavy lifting here. When the processed liquid
(called effluent) is released into the drain field, other natural and physical processes break down
remaining organic matter from there.
Unfortunately, certain substances can actually kill the beneficial bacteria in your tank if put down
your drain. This is why you should avoid putting paints, pesticides, chlorine (such as from a pool
or hot tub), medications, or automotive fluids down any drain in your home.
Be especially careful with household cleaners designed to kill bacteria, such as bleach, Lysol,
hydrogen peroxide, and even de-cloggers such as Drano. Not only do they kill the much-needed
bacteria in your septic tanks installation, but they can also contaminate your community’s
If you’ve accidentally killed off the bacteria in your septic tank, or if an inspection reveals that
your tank isn’t breaking down solids the way it should, it may be time to give the remaining
bacteria a helping hand.
Enzymes designed specifically for septic tank systems aid bacteria by helping to break down
organic solids on the molecular level. These smaller molecules are easier for the bacteria to
“digest,” making them work more efficiently. In a healthy tank, the bacteria will produce these
enzymes on their own, but in a compromised tank supplying extra enzymes can give the bacteria
a needed boost. These septic tank boosters may be in the form of a flush-able packet or liquid.
Other enzyme mixes may also contain nutrients to help feed the bacteria, while others contain
some of the beneficial bacteria themselves, which can help replace those that may have been
inadvertently killed off by something put down your drain.
Other vital septic maintenance
Even a septic systems cleaning with a thriving ecosystem won’t completely break down all
organic solids at the bottom of your septic tank. Meanwhile, fats, oils, and greases that go down
your drains will form a floating layer of scum at the top that can’t decompose. Unless these are
physically removed at some point, the sludge at the bottom and/or the oils at the top will
eventually overflow your tank and escape into the drainfield—with very unpleasant (and
If it’s been a few years since you’ve had your septic tank pumped, or if you’ve recently moved
to your home and don’t know the state of your septic tank, you’ll want to get it inspected to
determine how much longer you can go before pumping.
Generally it’s best to have it inspected annually—just to rule out other problems that could cause
major headaches down the road.
Also be sure to pay careful attention to the do’s and don’ts of owning a septic system, including
being very careful about not putting fats, grease, oils, “disposable” wipes, or dental floss down
any drain in your home.
Do you suspect your septic tank may be having issues? The technicians at Fred Lewis Septic’s
Plumbing can come take a look and help you determine the next step.