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Thread: The age-old septic question: Additives.....?

  1. #11
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    I will presume that the additive that was overused in your example was an enzyme based product such as RidX, Roebic, maybe Lenzyme, or even something they were hawked by a telemarketer.

    The reason I say that is that enzymes are not living organisms, but rather are a protein that catalyzes, or "speeds up", the bacteria's ability to process organic matter by breaking down complex substances such as hair, grease, soap, body wastes, etc. into simple compounds that are easier for the bacteria to digest. In simpler terms, they "liquify" a lot of the floating scum layer, after which the bacteria eat the liquified wastes. Enzymes cannot reproduce; once they are used up they will not replace themselves. From that standpoint all companies selling enzyme based products say to add a dose every month. Adding too much at one time could liquify too much of the scum at once, and the present bacteria might not be able to process that volume of suspended solids. If the enzyme-degraded wastes are not processed by bacteria, they can (and will) reconstitute down the line into a solid or semi-solid mass which will clog soil structure and create very excessive biomat. Another downside to enzymes is that they are not adaptable and are very, very specific about where and how they work. Each enzyme will only work within a narrow window of temperature and PH, on one substrate, etc. This means that for every individual type of the innumerable substances present in the waste stream, an entirely specific enzyme is needed to break it down. It is unlikely that a bottle of RidX contains the entire broad spectrum of enzymes necessary to break down every type of organic material in a tank, especially since each and every septic system has its own unique combination of substances present due to the fact that everyone's lifestyles vary from one to the next.

    Bacteria, on the other hand, digest organic wastes completely, turning them into harmless carbon dioxide and water. Bacteria are very adaptive to almost any environment and type of organic matter and produce their own necessary enzymes which aid them in their job of breaking down waste material. Therefore if enough bacteria are present, no enzymes should need to be added. This is simple, sound science. The only way to improve on existing bacterial populations without adding oxygen is to introduce strains that are more type-specific to the organic matter present in household waste streams. Therefore, they will be more agressive and, a septic environment being "survival of the fittest", will out-perform and starve less aggressive strains of naturally occuring bacteria in the system which have been introduced through body wastes, kitchen drains, etc.

    It's not that the enzymatic additives don't work at all. They usually have some bacteria in their formulation, and are designed with the concept that once the enzymes start to do their job, the bacteria in the product will begin to thrive, multiply, and eventually populate the tank. The only problem with this theory is that there may be a condition present, such as like Trent mentioned with medications, or other harmful substances in the waste stream that kill bacteria such as strong household cleaners, etc. If you keep adding enzymatic/bacterial products, the enzymes, not being living substances, will do their job of liquifying waste, but the bacteria which must then process those simpler, "broken down" compounds die off and drop the ball. This leaves a situation exactly as you described, Trent, where the waste is liquified but not digested and reconstitutes down the line, in the drainfield.

    I understand how that could work, which is why I've been so hesitant to even go down this road. This is also why I asked the questions I asked earlier about how you decided what to use and why.
    Kendall
    www.westseptic.com

    "Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and their politicians as a joke." Will Rogers

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to SewerRat For This Useful Post:

    appletondrain (07-30-2012), phishfood (07-29-2012), Trent2 (07-29-2012)

  3. #12
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    Kendall, are you a bio-chemist on your days off?

    Seriously though, I don't plan on pushing bacteria any time soon.

    Let us know what you decide.
    Clinkscales Portable Toilets
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  4. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trent2 View Post
    Kendall, are you a bio-chemist on your days off?

    Seriously though, I don't plan on pushing bacteria any time soon.

    Let us know what you decide.
    We don't plan to push it, but we do plan to stock it and provide it to those who ask now that we've found a product we feel comfortable with.
    Kendall
    www.westseptic.com

    "Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and their politicians as a joke." Will Rogers

  5. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SewerRat View Post
    We don't plan to push it, but we do plan to stock it and provide it to those who ask now that we've found a product we feel comfortable with.
    Do you plan on relabeling?
    AllurePlumbing.com


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  6. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gettinit View Post
    Do you plan on relabeling?
    No siree....
    Kendall
    www.westseptic.com

    "Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and their politicians as a joke." Will Rogers

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