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Septic systems are more than just a maze of pipes and drains, they are actual living environments. The microbial system within, which includes bacteria, yeasts, and enzymes, plays an active role in maintaining your septic systems. Their purpose in your septic system is to digest any solids that have settled at the bottom of your septic tank and get the decomposition process started.


An Introduction to Septic System Structure

A typical septic system consists of a septic tank and a drainfield, or soil absorption field. Your system is basically an underground wastewater treatment structure that uses a combination of nature and technology to treat wastewater from household plumbing produced by kitchen drains, bathrooms and even laundry.

The septic tank digests organic matter and separates floatable matter (i.e. oils and grease) and solids from the wastewater. Soil-based systems discharge the liquid (known as effluent) from the septic tank into a series of perforated pipes buried in a leach field that has been designed to slowly release the effluent into the soil or surface water.


There are two main types of bacteria that are present in your system:

Aerobic Bacteria: This type of bacteria needs oxygen to live. In septic systems, aerobic bacteria will break down the organic waste and then feed off of it. In most cases, aerobic bacteria are very sensitive to environmental changes and are much larger than the anaerobic bacteria found in septic systems.

Anaerobic Bacteria: This type of bacteria needs little to no oxygen to live. Although they are smaller than aerobic bacteria, anaerobic bacteria are better able to withstand changes within their environment. When organic matter enters your septic tank, this bacteria eats, digests, and excretes the matter.


How Microbes Come Into Play

Since solid materials need to remain within the septic tank to prevent clogging the drainage field and causing serious backup, they must be removed with the use of septic pumping trucks. What may be surprising is how infrequently pumping is needed (typically only once every 3-5 years).

This infrequency is all thanks to the vast colonies of microorganisms living within the tank. These work non-stop to break down waste materials, converting much of the solids into liquids that join the stream of effluent and gases that simply dissipate through the soil or leach field. A healthy bacterial environment is vital to maintaining septic system health. Without it, you would be faced with frequent maintenance and nasty, inconvenient issues.


Contact Us Today

Within your septic system, maintaining the balance between anaerobic and aerobic bacteria is extremely important. At West Coast Sanitation, we know that you do not have time to deal with septic problems. One of the ways you can maintain this balance and keep your septic system working like it should is to have your tank pumped regularly. Please give us a call at (951) 780-5922 right away. We have professionals ready to answer your questions and get your system working properly again.