Do Enzymes and Bacteria Actually Solve Septic Tank Problems?

Putting Nature's Helpers to Work

Image of John Lancaster Copyright by John Lancaster
Ft. Smith, AR USA


"When we talk to plants about superbugs or selectively adapted organisms," explained Ted Rourke, "we have to help them understand that what we're basically talking about is adding a skilled work force to their treatment process."

Rourke is director of industrial and municipal sales at St. Louis, Missouri, based BioLogix Systems Corporation. BioLogix cultures bacteria for uses ranging from home cleaning products to waste water and chemical treatment, including cultures that literally eat hazardous or potentially hazardous wastes. These base cultures are provided to other companies, which develop product lines from them.

Although Rourke was discussing industrial and municipal applications, his observation applies equally well to home and small business uses, including septic system augumentation, drain line maintenance, and grease trap maintenance. Because these bacteria are naturally occurring organisms, they pose no threat to the environment. Quite to the contrary, the environment benefits because the bacteria are being used to digest waste materials, breaking them down to CO2, water, and harmless mineral salts.

Additionally, most manufacturers use types of bacteria that are non-pathogenic, meaning they do not cause diseases in humans.

One note of warning, however, is in order. Some bacterial products use a bacteria called psuedomonas aeurignosa, which is a secondary potential pathogen. That means that it has the capability to mimic certain traits of pathogens and to take on some of their characteristics. BioLogix's Rourke summed up the problem with this bacterium neatly.

"It's the type of thing, basically," he advised, "that you don't want to come in contact with if you have any open wounds or cuts on your hands. It produces a toxin and is being more closely looked at by different regulatory bodies."

Noting that his company knew it was an organism they did not want in their mix, Ted emphasized that the USDA now bans it from use in food processing establishments that come under their authority. The product is considered to be suitable for use in petro-chemical processing plants and other similar applications.

"But we've always been of the opinion," Rourke continued, "that you have plant personnel who are going to be adding these organisms to the treatment process in the plant, and we want the organisms that are most effective and also the safest."

The answer is to verify with your supplier that his mix does not contain aeurignosa or other pathogens (disease-producing bacteria). It would, in fact, be wise to verify with the supplier that his product is suitable for any application that might enter the food chain.

Fortunately, nature provides an abundant supply of beneficial bacteria that offer no harm to humans or to their plants and animals. These provide an excellent way to enlarge the pumper's line of offerings, both in service and in direct product sales.

The key to boosting sales and improving service with biological products, however, is having a good working knowledge about them.By John C. Lancaster, - Editor & Writer 

Other sewer and environmental pages by the author:

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Originally published in The Pumper, a publication of Cole Publishing Inc., PO Box 220, Three Lakes WI 54562, tel. 800-257-7222 or 715-546-3346.


Return to the Septic Tank area of the SwopNet Engineering Databank. You will find lots more information about on-site wastewater disposal there.