e coli bacteria

Septic tank bacteria myths exposed

Does adding septic tank bacteria improve performance or solve problems?

The short answer is no. Adding bacteria to a septic tank system is pointless. A septic tank system is an anoxic settlement tank [low levels of oxygen]. Bacteria need oxygen and food to survive and flourish. Adding bacteria to a tank with minimal oxygen levels means the bacteria will perish rapidly and will achieve nothing. 

Not only that, but the bacteria population inside a sewage system is limited by the food available [i.e. the incoming sewage]. So adding bacteria to a tank that already has the maximum population of bacteria present has no positive impact.

How long does it take for septic tank bacteria to develop?

We are often asked if our sewage treatment plants need bacteria to be added to them to work properly.  With an aerated sewage treatment plant, within the space of 2-3 days after startup, a full colony of naturally occurring bacteria will have developed in the system. 

To summarise, if you have just installed a new sewage treatment plant, our advice is this – do not purchase septic tank bacteria, save your money! The bacteria will develop naturally within 2-3 days of the system being up and running. 

Additionally, if you have an old or faulty septic tank, adding septic tank bacteria will achieve nothing. Have it looked at by an industry professional instead and it will be money well spent.

On a final note, bear in mind that the majority of companies that supply septic tank bacteria products offer no guarantee or independent certification for these products.

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