Aerobic Septic Systems
Are all septic systems aerobic septic systems?
Let's get this topic straight from the start. All septic systems are aerobic, or at least they were designed to be. Aerobic activity must take place for the proper break down of aerobic bacteria. Of course where this activity takes place is up to the system design. In a normal gravity type system, with a leech field, the activity hopefully takes place in the porous upper couple of feet of soil.
Aerobic septic systems differ from standard septic systems because they help to introduce air into the process, like a bubbler or weir which oxygenates the water. The benefits of aerobic treatment are simple-- it requires about half the space of a leach field system, has little odor, yet produces a more environmentally friendly waste effluent.
Air speeds up the process in aerobic septic systems
As with a standard septic system, anaerobic bacteria break down in the tank, like lactic acid fermentation, no air required. Suspended solids in the water exiting the tank are then exposed to the aerobic system which utilizes a bacterial digestion process to reduce waste material, by incorporating air for speedy breakdown.
Aerobic septic systems can be added to existing septic systems, because the aerobic system requires a pre-treatment phase to remove large solids from the wastewater, which the septic tank accomplishes nicely. That’s where the similarities in the two systems end.
On a small scale, the aerobic process is accomplished using a medium for the water to flow through, facilitating the exposure to air. The medium can be man made, or sometimes peat moss. Bubblers are commonly used to ensure continuous aeration and water movement which helps accelerate the decomposition process. A chlorinator is also added inline prior to release, using a mild bleach solution to help eliminate additional bacteria.
Include an aerator to convert existing systems to aerobic septic systems
Aerobic Septic Systems are sometimes used as an upgrade to a failing septic system. First the tank is pumped by a licensed pumping contractor, and cleaned. The new system is then installed which incorporates a septic aerator to ensure a constant air supply bubbling through the water, thus assisting with aerobic decomposition before waste water is allowed to continue to the leach field. This arrangement allows the drain field a break from the excess nutrients, allowing the area to regenerate and return to normal. With a little planning and patience, aerobic septic systems can save a failing leech field.
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