You may not realize this, but the reason why your septic system works the way it does is all thanks to bacteria. Inside your septic tank are billions of naturally occurring, microscopic organisms which allow it to work properly. Think of your septic tank as a well-organized living machine, which has certain requirements for everyone to do their jobs properly. Here’s how bacteria breaks down everything in your septic system.
The Perfect Temperature and pH
For the proper bacteria activity, your septic tank should be above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The bacteria digests solids that settle to the bottom of the tank and begin to decompose. The pH should be between 6 and 7.5 for optimal function.
How Bacteria Function
The multitude of bacteria inside your septic system are the main players in the process that filters your wastewater. There are several different types of bacteria present in your tank, but these are the two main categories:
- Aerobic – These bacteria need oxygen to flourish. They break down and use organic waste as their only food source. They are larger than the anaerobic and are very sensitive to environmental changes.
- Anaerobic – These bacteria can operate with little or no oxygen. They are smaller than their counterparts, but far more resilient. The solids in your tank are eaten, digested, and then passed through the anaerobic bacteria. This transforms the solids into gases and liquids. This natural process changes the waste into an effluent that then passes through to your drain field.
Maintain the Balance
To maintain the bacteria balance in your septic tank, it’s imperative to have it regularly pumped and inspected. Solids that are not digested by the bacteria will start to accumulate in your tank, which will need to be pumped out. An inspection is also necessary every three years or so to make sure all your system components are in good shape.
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