Aerobic Septic System: Functionality & Treatment Stages

Have you come across the term ‘aerobic septic system’ and wonder how different this is from what you’ve always known?

Here, we’ll be expanding on this topic by discussing every bit of relevant information on aerobic septic systems. Is this the best choice for you? This will become more apparent to you as we cover more details.

You only need to stick around to find out.

This article is solely dedicated to providing you with all the information about aerobic septic systems.

What Is An Aerobic Septic System?

Although popularly called an aerobic septic system, aerobic treatment system or ATS is its proper name. This is usually a small-scale sewage treatment system that requires the injection of oxygen into the septic treatment tank.

So, why should oxygen be injected into the treatment tank? Such oxygen increases or enhances digestive bacterial activity. Aerobic septic systems come with pretreatment and final treatment tanks.

However, it’s important to note that not all such systems have these two treatment tanks. The treatment tanks are meant to ensure the complete breakdown of waste and to also help reduce pathogen levels.

Not all areas are suitable for the installation of a septic system (such as in the case of an anaerobic septic system).

Certain unfavorable conditions such as unfavorable soil conditions and high water tables require the most appropriate type of system; in this case, an aerobic septic system.

How Does An Aerobic System Work?

To know if this is the right choice for you, you’ll need to understand how an aerobic septic system works. The treatment of waste using the aerobic system follows four main stages.

They include the pre-treatment stage, aeration chamber, disinfection, and final treatment disposal.

Oxygen is the main difference between aerobic septic systems and others. As mentioned earlier such systems require the infusion of air or oxygen to aid digestion.

The aim of introducing air into the system is to simply provide an oxygen-rich bacterial environment.

In the absence of such air, digestive bacteria are unable to properly breakdown sewage contained in the aerobic septic system.

Is this a little confusing to you? The following explanations on treatment stages should enable you to better comprehend what’s involved.

  • Treatment Stages

We earlier mentioned that an aerobic septic system follows certain stages in the treatment of waste. These include pretreatment, aeration chamber, disinfection, and final treatment disposal.

Let’s take a look at each of these as follows;

i. Pretreatment

At this treatment stage, the aim is to separate the sewage wastewater from solids. For this to happen, a settling tank is introduced into the system.

Having separated the solids from the liquid, the next stage unfolds with waste passing through an aeration chamber.

ii. Aeration Chamber

Just as the name suggests, the main purpose of an aeration chamber is simply to introduce air or oxygen for aerobic bacterial growth. Air is forced through the wastewater and mixes with it using a blower or compressor.

With such air comes aerobic bacterial growth. These bacteria thrive in the presence of oxygen and will need a steady supply to digest or breakdown waste nutrients.

iii. Disinfection

To safely dispose of digested sewage, such sewage will need to be disinfected. The disinfection process can be carried out through the use of ultraviolet light or chlorine tablets.

Different aerobic septic systems come with varying disinfection methods.

iv. Final Treatment Disposal

After disinfection, the effluent is now ready for safe disposal in the drain field.

This is where it’s filtered down safely to mix with groundwater without contamination. A drain field needs to be well prepared for this process.

Does it need to be Pumped?

Just like any other, an aerobic septic system will need to be pumped to ensure your tank keeps running effectively. With continued use of an aerobic septic system come high sludge levels.

Usually, when sludge reaches a high level of approximately 50% to 60% in the tank, it needs to be pumped out.

Not pumping your aerobic septic tank as when due complicates its normal functioning. When solids accumulate, they result in clogs to the spray heads and lines. Too much sludge in the tank also reduces the percentage of treated wastewater.

What more? Pump failure is another problem you may face when solids accumulate in the pump tank. You’ll need to have your septic system frequently inspected to determine the best time for pumping.

Pumping frequency is determined by multiple factors such as the number of household members, tank sizes (including aerobic, pump, and trash tanks), and what gets flushed down the drain.

Only Patronize Reputable Pumping Services

Although maintenance providers may offer scheduled maintenance checks, not all provide effective aerobic septic system pumping services. You may have to look elsewhere to reputable pumping services to get the job done.

Troubleshooting An Aerobic Septic System

Issues are likely to develop with aerobic septic systems. When they do, you’ll need to have an understanding or idea of what needs to be done to fix the problem.

In most cases, the appropriate response will be the adoption of preventive practices.

What you dispose of in your aerobic septic system has an impact on functionality. Also, certain components of the system may develop faults that need to be fixed. Common issues include electrical problems, alarm troubles, and pump issues.

Others are filter clogging, environmental contamination, and overloading.

Whatever the case is, there needs to be an appropriate response. Some of these problems are due to improper use of the aerobic septic system, while in the case of others; the absence of routine maintenance may be the issue.

  • Electrical, Alarm, and Pump Issues

These are technical problems that could develop with the continued use of your aerobic septic system. When it does happen, it’s necessary to call for maintenance.

A routine aerobic system maintenance schedule should be maintained to keep your unit working perfectly.

  • Filter Clogging, Environmental Contamination & Overloading

These issues are also likely to result when necessary inspection routines aren’t carried out.

In the case of overloading, the wrong septic tank size may be used. Whatever the case is, it’s necessary to seek the assistance of an expert to have such issues checked and fixed.

These details on aerobic septic systems are provided to help you understand how it works and how best to maintain it.

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