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Exploring the Role of Bacteria in Septic Tanks: Implications for Pumping

Exploring the Role of Bacteria in Septic Tanks: Implications for Pumping

If you’re new to a property with a septic tank, you might not know about the bacteria living in your septic system and why you need them there. As a new tank owner, you might not know you need that bacteria for septic tank health. Bacteria and other microorganisms are essential to the septic tank water purification process. Without microbes, the organic matter in the wastewater would not be able to break down and be removed by your septic system. Understanding how microbes affect your septic system will help you ensure it remains in good working order.

Keep reading to learn about your septic systems’ different kinds of bacteria and enzymes and why you need them.

What is the role of bacteria in the septic tank?

First, it is important to know that bacteria are the tiny living microorganisms naturally present in the septic tank system. When the solid and liquid waste is flushed down the drain, it reaches the tank and is acted upon by the beneficial bacterial population.

Solid waste is broken down and settles at the bottom, whereas fats, oils, and grease flow above. Solid waste accumulates and rises to the top when the microbial population is affected, causing septic tank problems.

This is the reason why regular septic tank treatment is necessary to keep the system up and running.

There are different types of bacteria, too! The main difference between aerobic and anaerobic bacteria is the need for oxygen.

  • Aerobic bacteria need oxygen to survive. It’s this bacteria you will normally find in home septic tank systems. They are the most resistant against household waste and cleaners and the best at breaking down human solids.
  • Anaerobic bacteria are normally used in larger-scale, underground systems. They don’t need oxygen, so they tend to be better at breaking down unnatural substances. Unlike aerobic bacteria, these microbes won’t be fazed by stuff outside of the 3Ps.

What happens when there aren’t enough bacteria in your septic tank?

Your tank will have a pungent, unpleasant odor as there are not enough bacteria to break down the waste properly.

Should I add bacteria to my septic tank after pumping?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to add anything to your septic tank after pumping. Septic tank additives are usually unnecessary because they can ruin pipes and the tank itself. They’re no substitute for proper septic tank maintenance and actions that reduce strain on the septic system, such as doing fewer and larger loads of laundry with low-sud detergent designed for septic systems.

If you’re not sure if you need bacteria in your septic tank, contact a professional like Dirty Deeds Septic. We can come to your home and inspect your septic system.

During that inspection, the technician will look at all the parts of your septic system and explain how your septic tank works if you’re a new septic system owner. 

We’ll check the levels of sludge and scum in your tank, as well as check the pipes and drain field to make sure everything is working properly and find answers if something’s off.

Adding additional bacteria does not take the place of having regular maintenance done on your septic system. You still need to have inspections, cleanings, and septic tank pumping done as your plumbing professional recommends.

What Affects Bacterial Population?

  • Regular use of chemical cleaners can hurt the bacterial population as they eliminate beneficial bacteria in the system, obstructing the waste digestion process.
  • Unlike organic waste, you should avoid flushing different types of non-biodegradable waste material down the toilet as they are difficult to degrade. This puts pressure on the bacterial community and makes them ineffective.

Avoid using antibacterial soaps and harsh chemical septic tank treatment products, as they can kill off microbes. Just like there are things to put into your septic tank to help bacteria grow, there are also toxic substances you should not put down your drains because they can hurt the septic tank bacteria:

  1. Antibacterial soaps
  2. Bleach
  3. Antibiotics
  4. Harmful chemicals
  5. Too much toilet paper
  6. Other chemical additives
  • Experts also suggest minimizing the use of water at homes. This is because too much water can disturb the balance of the septic tank environment, affecting bacterial performance.

How to Increase Good Bacteria?

You must follow the measures discussed above as they can help in the adequate supply and growth of healthy and good bacteria. To ensure that your septic tank always operates smoothly, you must also increase the number of good bacteria in the system.

Using septic tank enzymes is the best option to replenish the system with a beneficial bacterial population. It boosts the beneficial bacteria count in the system and helps in the degradation of organic solid waste as well.

Hence, adding bacteria to the septic tank enables you to avoid the expensive mechanical maintenance required to remove solid waste. 

Final Takeaway

At Dirty Deeds Septic, we perform licensed septic system inspections for home sales and for routine septic maintenance and repairs in the Island, San Juan, and Skagit counties. We offer services for residential septic systems. We value our customers and want to offer you the best septic service experience with fully trained, friendly technicians, affordable pricing, 24-hour service, seven days a week, and emergency service.

Contact us at 833-784-6592 to schedule an appointment with our team today.

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About Us

Dirty Deeds Septic provides septic pumping services to the Skagit and Island counties in Washington state. We are locally owned and operated and we are eager to help you maintain your septic system so that it continues to function properly.