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SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
SEPTIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS
SEPTIC D-BOX INSTALL REPAIR
SEPTIC DRAINFIELD FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SEPTIC DYE TEST PROCEDURE
SEPTIC FAILURE SIGNS
SEPTIC INSPECTION & TEST GUIDE
SEPTIC LIFE EXPECTANCY
SEPTIC SUPPLIES & PARTS
SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN ALTERNATIVES
SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN BASICS
SEPTIC SYSTEMS, HOME BUYERS GUIDE to
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SEPTIC TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS
SEWAGE BACKUP PREVENTION
SEWAGE EJECTOR / GRINDER PUMPS
SEWER GAS ODORS
SEWER LINE REPLACEMENT
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
SOAKAWAY BED FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES
TOILETS, INSPECT, INSTALL, REPAIR
TRAPS on PLUMBING FIXTURES
TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS, SEPTIC
VIDEO GUIDES: Septic Videos
WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER SUPPLY & DRAIN PIPING
WATER, WELLS, WATER TANKS: TESTING GUIDE
WASHING MACHINES & SEPTIC SYSTEMS
WASTEWATER TREATMENT BASICS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Guide to septic system drainfield restoration methods: this article discusses the use of various septic drainfield restoration methods including the use of Porox methods, aeration, jetting, chemical treatments and also septic tank or drainfield aeration add-on systems and special septic bacteria for failed septic system rejuvenation.
Are there some septic drainfield restoration systems that work without replacing the drainfield? Perhaps. Why don't we see expert, independent peer-reviewed research confirming their efficacy?
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Failed or Clogged Septic Field Rejuvenation or Restoration Products & Methods: Alternative Onsite Waste Disposal (Septic System) Materials & Products
Should you add septic treatment chemicals, nutrients, cleaners, bacteria, yeast, root killers, septic drainfield decloggers to septic systems? Generally, no. Why not? What causes septic system failures? What do experts say about septic chemicals and septic treatments? Why do people use them?
These questions are addressed here. Our page top photograph shows a collection of septic system additives, chemicals, cleaners, root killers, etc. for sale at a building supply store. We do not have specific information about these individual products and we make no specific representation about the efficacy of any individual product shown.
OPINION: the following comments describe the results of a search for information about two approaches to "failed septic system rejuvenation" and comment on the level of independent technical study and research supporting the types of product under examination.
Question about Septic Rejuvenator Systems
Have you tested or heard of the XXX (name deleted). It is inserted into the clean side of a septic tank and air is pumped into it to aerate the water? Does it work? Thanks for your help. -- Dave Massetti
Answer: Let's look at two septic system rejuvenator approaches - one that you asked about inserts an aerator into the septic tank, and a second approach that is a bit more sophisticated
Add-on Aerobics for Conventional Septic Tanks - an Interesting Septic Rejuvenation System Approach with Some Questions Remaining
We took a preliminary look at the XYZ Drainfield Savior system about which you inquired, but emphasize that we are expert on it nor its efficacy - what follows are some simple research and tentative conclusions based on study, reader comments about septic system repair attempts, and septic failure inspection & testing experience:
This XYZ Drainfield Savior system is comprised of a small do-it-yourself conversion kit to "convert" a conventional septic tank to a sort of aerobic septic system - though the design of a conventional non-areobic-septic-system tank and drainfield almost certainly were not originally made with an aerobic system in mind. Although you referred to the "clean side" of the septic tank, many conventional septic systems use a single chamber tank where this device would have to work if no other (costly) modifications to the system were made.
At AEROBIC SEPTIC SYSTEMS you'll see that an aerobic septic system has tank and a number of other design features designed specifically for that approach.
It is certainly true that aerobic type septic systems are able to treat waste to a higher level.. But a confirmation that treating current and future effluent to a higher level rejuvenates a failed drainfield despite any other conditions in the system would seem to deserve independent expert research and documentation beyond testimonials and the enthusiasm of the inventor.
The claims at the website are certainly enthusiastic: System XXX returns drain fields to proper functioning and keeps them from failing in the future [we have paraphrased to respect the identity of specific septic restorer products and systems].
Comments and Questions about XYZ Drainfield Savior system
1. There are surely plenty of septic system failure cases that cannot and should not be "restored" by adding anything to the system whatsoever - such as collapsing septic tanks, broken baffles, crushed D-boxes, improperly located and designed fields, collapsed drainfield trenches or piping. All of these conditions need diagnosis and physical repairs. For that matter, without diagnosis we don't know that the septic "failure" isn't due to a broken pipe rather than a failed drainfield. So rushing to Septic Genie might be in some cases a mistake.
See the septic system inspection and diagnosis advice at SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION & TEST GUIDE
2. The XYZ Drainfield Savior system and marketing includes a special septic bacteria along with a plastic aerator, tubing, and an air pump to be mounted in the septic tank.
A septic tank aerator will almost certainly improve the level of treatment in the septic tank, reducing the workload on the drainfield, though retrofit aerators in non-aerobic-designed septic systems need some research and testing. The air volume, flow rate, distribution, and septic tank shape, as well as maintenance are all designed with care for a true aerobic septic system.
Bacterial additives are something that experts in the field have told us time and again are inappropriate and unnecessary. We didn't find any independent assessment of this bacterial additive.
3. How does XYZ work? By sending less-loaded higher-treated effluent and special bacteria into the drainfield the clogged biomat around the drainfield trench sides and bottom is repaired.
This may be partly accurate. For example, if we totally stop using a drainfield trench for some period of time to allow it to rest (alternating drainfields) the biomat may recover some function. I'm not sure what happens when effluent load continues on a trench with higher-treated effluent. The inventors state that bacteria produced in the septic tank (their special strain) migrate to and improve the field biomat.
The inventors explain that "we have used the wrong bacteria for more than a century - although really the same bacteria, naturally occurring in wastewater and developing in septic tanks has served in septic and waste disposal facilities for longer than that.
4. Watch out: other than testimonials, and a patent for an earlier device, we could not find actual technical data, nor any independent research on effectiveness of this design, even though it is appealing.
Here is what one inventor explained about an XYZ product:
None of this describes the theory, nor any independent corroborating testing of XYZ, though the inventors are enthusiastic and are confident in its success.
Certainly increasing the level of treatment in an otherwise un-damaged septic tank is likely to be a good idea in any case; and a system that does not use toxic chemicals is not likely to be harming the environment.
In sum - we often find XYZ drainfield rejuvenation products sold with strong claims from the inventor/vendor, and supported testimonials, but with little or no reliable third-party research.
Frequently Asked Questions about Drainfield Restorers
(June 12, 2014) Bob said:
The introduction of air to destroy the biomat may produce mega pollution of the aquifers. A biomat is a vital part in keeping virus, pathogens, heavy metals etc. from entering the groundwater. Restoring systems that are severely clogged would likely release very harmful wastewater components. Field test results of groundwater at actual installations are not available.
Thanks, Bob. Can you help us out with article citations or research references? That's how we sort opinion from authoritative research.
11/2/2014 Anonymous said:
Our septic system contractor said the sludge in our septic system was not breaking down well. He poured Ox-AID and CCLS into the tank, which are Mass DEP title V approved for contractor use chemicals. Are these directly applied chemicals any more effective than the ineffective chemicals sold to the homeowner. We would like to know if we are unnecessarily pouring money into our septic services pocket?
Anon, one wonders how the septic marketeer determined the sludge breakdown rate. Normally bacteria occurring naturally in the septic tank partly digest the solid sewage. Clarified effluent flows to the drainfield. Grease coagulates in the floating scum layer at tank top. Solids settle as sludge to tank bottom and should be removed during tank pumping, not treated with chemicals.
Additives and treatments are not recommended by any independent authority we've found.
At least what you added should do no harm.
In unusual cases septic tank bacteria may be harmed, e.g. By dumping chemicals down drains or at a nursing facility where antibiotics are in high use.
In a residential septic even if you dumped something unusual into drains damaging tank and drainfield bacteria the tank will immediately be corrected if it is pumped and cleaned - provided you don't continue the offense. No inoculation is needed beyond normal use.
Questions & answers or comments about septic tank and drainfield rejuvenation treatments & approaches.
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