Common Myths and Perceptions
Myth #1: “Aerobic systems are the same as septic systems”
Reality: There are many differences between the two types of systems. Both systems use microbes to treat the water but different kinds of microbes. The ones found in septic systems are very passive and produce offensive odors that minimally treat the water. They rely on the soil to do most of the treatment. The microbes found in aerobic systems are extremely active, do not produce foul odors, and more effectively treat waste water. To stay healthy and active, they need the same things as us. They need a regular food supply, in the form of waste provided from the house. They need air which we pump into the system. And, they need room to work. This is maintained by keeping inorganic materials (things we couldn’t digest either, such as plastics or metals) out of the system. Also, greases and oils should be kept out because they, too, can inhibit their space.
Myth #2: “The water that comes out of an aerobic system is so clean, you can drink it”
Reality: ABSOLUTELY NOT. While it is true that if the system is working ideally it can be very clean, it should never be considered potable. There are many factors that can affect how clean it is, but it only takes one bad microbe to make a person or animal sick. Therefore, contact with the water coming out of the system should be limited as much as possible. Children and animals should not be allowed to play in it, and it should not be used to irrigate food producing vegetation. NO PERSON OR ANIMAL SHOULD DRINK IT.
Myth #3: “I should add a third party product such as Rid-X every so often”
Reality: NO. These products are designed for septic systems. They can potentially cause many problems in aerobic systems. If you’re experiencing any problems with your aerobic system, please call us with questions.
Myth #4: “Pool chlorine tablets are the same as aerobic system tablets”
Reality: They are very different. Chlorine tablets meant for pools should not be used in your aerobic system. Swimming pool tablets, such as Trichlor (tichloroisocyanuric acid or trichloro-s-triazinetrione) are meant to be immersed in water. In aerobic systems, the tablets are designed to be exposed to water intermittently, never immersed for extended periods of time. In these conditions, pool tablets will produce an explosive gas, nitrogen chloride. Also, the chlorine in pool tablets is stabilized to avoid readily breaking down by sunlight. Over an extended period of time, this will kill the vegetation and beneficial bacteria that naturally occurs in the soil that is necessary to finish treating the effluent coming from your system. The proper aerobic tablets are made up of Calcium Hypochlorite. They can be found in most major home maintenance supply stores and are kept in a completely different area than pool tablets. The two products SHOULD NEVER come into contact with one another. Trichlor will react violently with Calcium Hypochlorite or bleach.
Myth #5: “I only need to add chlorine tablets when the system stinks”
Reality: Your system has different compartments buried in the ground. The last compartment is known as the pump tank. This is meant to be a water storage area that has no microbial activity. Chlorine is meant to disinfect and kill any microbes that may potentially carry over into this tank. This is to prevent any waterborne diseases and illnesses that may have existed in the home from being spread. It is an important and necessary step for public safety that needs to be taking place all of the time.
Myth #6: “You can use regular liquid bleach for disinfection in the system”
Reality: This is true. However, bleach would need to be added at a very consistent rate to treat all water. Trying to add it once a day or once a week will not do this. We carry a couple of different products that can be added to your system that will properly dose regular bleach. Please call us for more information and pricing. This is a product that we highly recommend since it will purchase itself over time when you compare the cost of tablets verses bottles of bleach.