What is Anaerobic Bacteria In Septic Tanks? In a septic tank, anaerobic bacteria is responsible for the digestion of organic waste in the absence of oxygen. It’s because of this that it is crucial to have a healthy population of bacteria in your septic tank. Bacteria play an important role in the health and efficiency of your septic tank. In fact, it’s because of their presence that you can even keep your septic system running without any problems.
Without a healthy anaerobic bacteria population, the septic tank will not function properly and the following problems will arise:
- Solids will accumulate and clog your septic pipes.
- Sewage would backup into your house causing serious health hazards.
- Foul odors.
- Groundwater contaminations.
Septic Aerobic Bacteria Vs Septic Anaerobic Bacteria
Aerobic bacteria are bigger and more efficient than anaerobic bacteria at digesting organic matter. However, aerobic bacteria are fragile and are easily affected by environmental changes. Aerobic bacteria are found in aerobic septic systems which have more than one tank and are expensive to install. Aerobic septic systems require septic air pumps to supply oxygen to the system.
A major upside of anaerobic bacteria is that they are very resilient and anaerobic septic tanks are cheaper to install.
Where does septic tank bacteria come from?
Bacteria are single-celled or unicellular microorganisms that have cell walls but do not possess an organized nucleus. Bacteria are the most abundant life form on earth, with over 40 000 species identified to date. They can be found in soil, water, plants and animals, and even in the human gut. The classification of bacteria is based on the shape of the cell. The cells are classified into the following five groups: pherical, rod, spiral, comma or corkscrew.
Where does septic tank bacteria come from? Sewage and household waste that is added to septic tanks introduces bacteria to the septic system. During the digestion of organic waste in the septic system, solids settle at the bottom of the tank since they are dense. On the other hand, fats and oils float at the top since they are less dense. This is why you must not add too much yeast to the septic tank, because the frothing of yeast will unsettle the solids at the bottom of the tank, and they will end up not being digested by bacteria and eventually clog the septic pipes.
How long does it take for bacteria to grow in a septic tank?
Bacteria can grow in a septic tank in as little as two hours and start digesting organic waste. The ideal temperature for septic bacteria to multiply and efficiently decompose organic waste is between 80- and 95-degrees Fahrenheit.
What kills good bacteria in septic tanks?
Good bacteria are essential for the health of the septic tank, but what kills them? The most common culprits are as follows:
- Chlorine is found in many household cleaners and bleach, and when used in large quantities it kills good septic bacteria by oxidizing the bacteria to create free radicals that damage DNA and proteins in cells.
Vinegar is a good alternative to bleach, and it does not kill septic bacteria. Vinegar is a natural product that can be used as a disinfectant, and it also works as a bleaching agent. Some people also use vinegar in place of other cleaning solutions like ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. Vinegar can be used for various purposes such as removing stains from clothes, cleaning dishes, getting rid of rust and more.
- Antibacterial soaps are products that contain chemicals like triclosan, which kills bacteria by disrupting their cell membranes. A solution is to use Biodegradable soaps and natural disinfectants like lime juice.
- Latex products are non-biodegradable and will not be digested by septic bacteria. They will accumulate and clog the septic pipes. They can only be removed from the septic via pumping. Latex products should never be flushed down the toilet or drains.
- Pharmaceutical Products, Antibiotics and Medicine should never be flushed down the toilet or drains. They are widely used to treat bacterial infections and work by killing the bacteria or stopping its growth. A drug take back program is a safe and convenient way to dispose of your unwanted, expired, or unused medicines.
- Some people are not aware that fabric softeners can kill septic bacteria. They think it is a myth, but it is not. Fabric softeners contain chemicals that can harm the septic system and cause a lot of inconvenience to the homeowners. Fabric softeners provide a number of benefits, including the ability to reduce static cling, reduce wrinkles, and create a soft surface for the clothes. Silicon, acids, and quaternary ammonium compounds are three main ingredients found in fabric softeners. These ingredients are known as QUATS and are highly toxic to septic bacteria.
- Dishwasher and laundry detergent are two household items that are often used by people. However, the phosphates and surfactants in these products are harmful to septic bacteria. Furthermore, the phosphates and surfactants escape into the soil and contaminant ground water.
- We have been using drain cleaners for decades to get rid of clogs and keep our drains flowing. But recent research suggests that these cleaners kill the beneficial bacteria in our septic tanks. Drain cleaners are also highly corrosive and will damage the septic pipes.
Enzymatic and bacterial-made degreasers can be used in place of these drain cleaners. The use of enzymatic and bacterial-made degreasers is on the rise among consumers. They provide an alternative to traditional drain cleaners that is both safe and effective in cleaning clogged drains without harming septic bacteria. Enzymatic cleaners are made from natural enzymes which break down organic matter, making them safe for septic bacteria. They don’t contain any harmful chemicals like chlorine or ammonia that can cause damage to the septic bacteria. Bacterial-made degreasers are also made with natural ingredients like enzymes, citric acid, and baking soda.
- Septic bacteria does not easily digest Fats, Oils and Greases (FOG). FOG usually sticks to the septic pipes where it traps debris and this in-turn leads to clogs.
- You should also avoid washing off cosmetics in the sink. It is important to know that cosmetics contain heavy metals which are non biodegradable, and can not be digested by septic bacteria. The heavy metals escape into the soil and end up contaminating the groundwater.
How can I improve my septic bacteria?
You can improve your septic bacteria by:
- Adding rotten tomatoes to the septic system.
- Increasing the alkalinity of your septic system by adding lime. Septic bacteria thrives in an alkaline environment.
- Adding bacterial additives.
Final Thoughts: Anaerobic Bacteria In Septic Tanks
Anaerobic bacteria are a key component in the septic tank that breaks down the waste in the absence of oxygen. These bacteria feed on organic material, such as food scraps, dead plant material, and human wastes. It is crucial that you maintain a healthy septic bacterial population.