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Septic Tank Aerator Information

What is a septic tank aerator?

There are two types of bacteria in a septic system which process waste: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic bacteria require oxygen and are approximately 20 times more aggressive/effective than anaerobic bacteria (which don’t require oxygen). In a conventional septic system, the bacteria in the septic tank are anaerobic. 

There are now aerators available as after market products.  In a regular system the treatment process is started in the septic system.  But because the tank is anaerobic (without oxygen) the treatment process is minimal.  From there the effluent enters the drainfield where the uneven shape of the gravel or the open area of a chamber system creates voids that contain oxygen.  In the presence oxygen aerobic bacteria exist and these bacteria are 20 times more aggressive than anaerobic bacteria. 

A septic tank aerator works by pumping oxygen into the tank changing it from an anaerobic atmosphere to an aerobic atmosphere and this allows the more effective aerobic bacteria to exist in the tank.  Under these conditions the treatment in the tank is increased and effluent leaving the tank can be cleaner which in turn takes the load off the soil treatment area.  

The manufacturers are claiming they can be used to rejuvenate failed systems.  Although there has been little documented data on these claims (the Universities and other government agencies are extremely slow to test new products) the theory is strong and has excellent potential. 

The drawbacks of a septic system aerator are:

*They will burn electricity.  The best advice is to avoid letting the system go into failure in the first place.    

*If the pump is too strong, the septic system aerator could agitate the contents of the tank, flushing solids out to the drainfield and creating more of a problem.

*The pumps can get clogged with lint from washing machines.