Fully understanding septic maintenance products would require an advanced degree in microbiology, but most homeowners probably do not have that luxury. In order to keep their system flowing, many rely on maintenance products to ensure the continued effectiveness of their system.
In a well-maintained system, about the only thing that is needed is a regular clean out of the sludge that builds up in the bottom of the tank, consisting of undigested waste material. However, maintenance is often overlooked, and damage is building up through everyday use.
When waste enters the tank, natural waste from humans typically contains enough bacteria to eat away at the waste and keep it in normal parameters. However, homeowners often send things down the kitchen sink or washing machine that can slow the process, including:
- Household chemicals
- Anti-bacterial soaps and detergents
- Grease and vegetable oils
Some of the Most Popular Products
- Rid-X Septic Additive and Cleaner
- Roebic Laboratories Root Killer
- Microbe Lift Treatment
- CCLS Cleaner
- BioSafe One – Bio112
- Natural Choices – OxySeptic
Occasional Help May be Needed
There is a common misconception that homeowners need to add yeast, raw hamburger, dead chickens or even possums to their tank as some sort of homemade additive. In reality, however, a functioning system will continue to do so without these measures.
In the event the system slows down due to harsh chemicals killing the helpful bacteria, additives are available to kick-start the process, introducing healthy microbes. When considering the need for these additives, their ingredients also need to be considered. There are over 1,200 maintenance products on the market and some contain hazardous materials that could end up in the water supply and should be avoided.
Research Shows How Septic Products Work
Maintaining a “green” septic system can be realized by using products that are friendly to the environment that will not cause more damage to the system and works to speed up the system. Some of the products that claim to be “Earth friendly” include:
- STCD-Dry in various formulations
These products claim they can not only be used for preventive maintenance, but also to jump start a stalled system. By introducing trillions of bacteria into the system, they not only give a boost to the stalled bacteria’s eating habits, but can be used to help clear out organic materials blocking pipes and drains in the leach bed. Some of the issues found with some of the other products include:
- Breaking down the bac-mat, allowing sludge to filter into the leach field
- Contain chemicals that cause physical harm to tank components
- Releases the “scum” layer into, and possibly blocking the leach field
- Chemicals that degrade the soil structure so discharged water fails to leach into the soil
The occasional use of products may help prevent septic tank back-up and in extreme cases in which the tank or leach field becomes totally blocked, extreme measures may be needed. Septic maintenance products are also available that claim to be able to restart a system without the need for extensive and expensive excavation.