Focus on Septic Tank Treatment With Organic Materials

Septic Tank Treatment through Bio-Rehabilitation

Septic tank treatment expert John Lancaster Copyright by John Lancaster
Ft. Smith, AR USA

Often a leach field can be salvaged over a period of time through a combination of system maintenance and bio-treatment. System maintenance, including pumping sludge from the septic tank, is the vital first step to give the leach field and septic system a chance to rest, which simply means reduce the load on the system. This also provides time for bacterial colonies to break down the biomat that is plugging the leach field. By rest, we do not mean quit using the system. What is needed is a moderate flow of water, without sludge flushing out into the leach field and without chemicals such as drain cleaners or bleaches from the laundry that destroy the bacterial colony.

Successful septic tank treatment usually requires leachfield treatment

The second step is to treat the field itself. McKee told us about a friend's drain field that had gone bad. They actually dug it up, treated it heavily, and had it clean within a week. The norm, however, is more likely to be 60 - 90 days. He suggested mixing about five pounds of product with warm water and pouring it into the leach field breather pipe, then flushing some down the toilet as well.

But the real problem in salvaging an on-site waste water [septic tank] treatment system is getting the homeowner to go easy on it for a while.

"It's easy for us to say spend $5,000 or $6,000 to put in a new field," Roten observed. "Well, a lot of people can't afford that. If we can help them until they can afford it, that's great. If we can help them never get into that position, that's even better." Noting that successful [leach field and septic tank] treatment may depend on how degraded the system is and how much relief you can get it, Roten went on to make some pointed comments.

"If you are running a system at full capacity and you're trying to rejuvenate a lateral field, you may run into a problem where you're putting more water in the system than it can handle. If so, you're still going to have backups for a period of time," he said. "You have to restrict the flow as much as you can, give the system a chance for the colonies to work. If you could do one washing a week instead of four, if you could cut down the amount of water that you run in the house, that would help the system recover."

"And please, please, while you're doing this, stop using bleach for a couple of days," Donaldson added.

Septic tank treatment with microbes and enzymes may save the homeowner thousands of dollars
if the treatment eliminates or delays the need to replace the drainfield

The same principles apply to correcting sewer lines in city residences and office buildings. Frequent initial applications of bio-additives allow the bacterial colonies to rejuvenate and return quickly to work. After the colonies are re-established and functioning well again, periodic supplements will maintain them. Frequency will depend on the volume of water moving through the system and on the variety of chemicals being carried in that water. As with leach field rehabilitation, it is important to restrict chemical flow into the system so that the bio-cultures can survive, grow, and do their job.


Bioaugmentation, then, offers a means of enlarging and enhancing sewer cleaning and maintenance services. The pumper is also in a unique position to become the supplier of a number of related non-toxic and beneficial bacterial products which homeowners (as well as businesses) will find helpful.

Perhaps of more interest, biological products offer assistance to the pumper in maintaining his customer's sewer lines and septic systems in good working order, at relatively low cost. He can literally put millions of nature's skilled laborers to work at each call he makes.

By John C. Lancaster, - Editor & Writer 

Other sewer and environmental pages by the author:

BizSolver Home Page - The Free Archive of Business and Industrial Experience, providing practical solutions to everyday problems for business and industry. Includes a growing set of useful articles for ready reference, including the Internet Marketing Series, the Wastewater Treatment and Reuse series, an Onsite Wastewater Treatment series, and a series of biotechnology articles, as well as other articles, are coming soon.

  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 septic tank treatment chemicals and on-site wastewater disposal there.