6 Common Aerobic Septic System Problems   

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For aerobic system owners, chances are the alarm has been tripped at some point. While this might not be because of a serious issue, it might be an indication that one or more components in your system are faulty. An aerobic septic system treatment plant is where sewage waste is stored and broken down by aerobic bacteria. The system does not generate any waste but instead collects the waste from the built-up areas and transports it to the sewage station. The station collects the sewage and mixes it with water generated from natural sources. 


The mixture is then pumped into the septic tank, where wastewater generated from farms or households is separated by the biological action of aerobic bacteria. This process results in clean water that you can use for other purposes like irrigation of crops.  


Conventional vs. Aerobic Septic System 

There are mainly two types of septic systems, the conventional and aerobic septic systems. Although the process of the two might be different, the main aim of the systems is to break down sewage.  The aerobic septic system is the more complex waste disposal system available. 


This simple waste treatment system consists of two parts: The first part, the media, is watery material that quickly sluices through the system, carrying any unwanted material to be removed by a second part of the system – the media pump. The media pump works outwards at high pressure to remove any solids from wastewater before discharge into drains. 


The second part of a septic system, called the sewage outlet or drain, dispenses wastewater into sewers to be appropriately treated for further reuse for other types of materials. It is also less energy efficient because it requires much energy to decompose waste and flush it out. They usually also require an expensive pumping system which gets pricey over time.


The traditional septic system is comparatively more straightforward than the aerobic system. Traditional septic systems are developed to use less water and energy. They require only minimal maintenance. An aerobic septic system is very effective in providing sanitation to people in rural areas. But it does not provide good drainage for the wastewater, which causes clogging of drains and other plumbing problems.


Common Aerobic Septic System Problems

While septic systems were considered a task that professional engineers and technicians should take care of a few years ago, these systems have become a common occurrence in daily life. This has led to the development of many different models and inventions in this field. In a septic system, the breakdown of specific components over time can send large amounts of waste into the environment.  


An alarm is usually installed to inform the owner of a default. While a professional can efficiently fix the issue with your septic system, here are the problems you need to watch out for if you intend to fix them yourself. 


1. No Power Source 

For an aerobic septic system to work, you have to connect it to a power source, and you should switch on the electric breaker. What can go wrong if the power fails? It can be a breaker that trips the circuit, or it may be a more complicated problem that goes beyond just a changeover. 


The good news is that these problems are not only common, but they are usually easy to fix.  Aerobic septic system professionals deal with this issue regularly, so they have the best knowledge on how to avoid this kind of failure. You might live in an area that gives you the liberty to turn your septic system circuit permanently, but for many others, this might not be the case. This is particularly true if you live in a rural area where electricity is out for days and weeks at a time, and you have to rely on generators. 


Outages disrupt the aerobic septic system of your home and make the system unusable for long periods. Pollution from a damaged septic system can have a long-term effect on your health, so you need to know how to avoid these disruptions from happening.


2. Faulty Submersible Pump

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A submersible pump is a piece of equipment used to transfer water from one place to another. The pump mainly transfers water from an underwater area to the surface. It’s compact and portable to be used in many places, such as a septic tank. 


The submersible pump is an easy way to convert an aerobic septic system into an aquatic septic system. The pump allows you to change the water cycle from the surface to the subsurface. If the sub-surface contains organic waste, you can use it as a bio-filter for your water supply. 


There are many applications for this kind of pump, including short-term septic systems, such as on-site septic tanks, and longer-term systems, such as aquaculture ponds, seawater desalination plants, and so on. The motor is hermetically sealed so that it is waterproof and does not need constant maintenance or replacement. You can use the pump in conjunction with a nearby dewatering station to keep the tank clean and provide fresh water. 


The submersible pump is essential for the efficiency of the septic system. It allows water to flow better by converting rotary energy into kinetic then pressure energy. However, many factors can damage the pump, such as a bad float, faulty wiring, corrosion on valves or float valves, worn-out seals, etc. 

Nowadays, many submersible pumps have different designs and sizes of tanks installed in different parts of the country. Each pump requires its maintenance schedule. They must be regularly checked so that they can work optimally. 


3. Poor Air Pressure


Septic tanks are pumped up to a high level to absorb the oxygen needed to break down waste properly. This also prevents odors from rising into the air spaces that contain bacteria and other microbes. Therefore, if you ignore it, the system will not function properly.


The air pressure in our septic system affects aerobic function. Aerator adjustment is the key to solving poor air pressure in an aerobic septic system. To change the air pressure, you need to change your aerator or repair a faulty one. 


4. Faulty Timer or Photocell


In an aerobic septic system, the primary function of the septic tank is to hold water. This is done by using a timer that shuts off when the water level drops below its designed capacity. The water is then pumped out through an overflow tube when it reaches capacity again.


The photocell in this system will turn on every time there is a drop in the level of water within the tank. Not not only when there is a drop, but anytime there is a volume change. The photocell provides information about the tank’s water level through a photoresistor, which can also be used as a timer. Recently, other types of photocells are becoming popular as well. There are infrared or microwave sensors that you can use to detect how much moisture is present in the septic tank’s interior. You can use this information to control pumping speed through an electric motor.


5. Clogged Chlorinator 


Chlorinators are typically used to disinfect the wastewater in a septic tank and provide the oxygen for its growth. They can be used as disinfectants in aerobic septic tanks as well. The chlorine produced by chlorinators breaks down organic matter such as algae, bacteria, and parasites. The chlorinator also removes organic pollutants from water with high toxicity, such as heavy metals, nitrates, and pesticides. 


Chlorinators in septic tanks can clog and disrupt the function of the septic tank. This is primarily due to the buildup of solid waste in the tank. When this happens, the flow becomes blocked and contaminated due to a lack of chlorine addition. If your septic tank is dysfunctional, you can check the condition of the chlorinator. 

How to Add Chlorine to Aerobic Septic System 

Aerobic tanks contain an access port at the top, and the chlorine tablets would be added through this channel. The ports are usually two, one leading the aeration chamber and the other for chlorine. This also depends on the tanks manufacturer’s model. The ports are closed tightly with latched caps. 

6. Lack of Maintenance of Septic Systems 

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There are many reasons for septic systems to fail long-term, but the leading cause is improper maintenance. Maintain your septic system regularly, and you can extend its life. The septic system is an integral part of your home. You need to ensure that your septic system is working correctly by regularly checking its condition and cleaning it if needed. 


A good rule of thumb is that a professional should generally check it at least once a year. The reason for this is that if the tank has not been inspected for quite some time, it can get clogged up with waste minerals, or some vital parts might be damaged. Just because the septic system works doesn’t mean it is free from any problems. We should always maintain our septic systems to avoid having to pay a hefty bill later on.


These forms of septic systems are often found in rural areas. They are small in size but can still be effective in treating small amounts of wastewater. These units are usually used for single residences but can also treat large amounts of wastewater.


It is typically installed on the roof of the house or the backyard. With a septic system, wastewater cleanly flows into the ground. It does not smell. It is easy to maintain and well-suited for single or remote residences. If your septic tank is faulty, you should consult professionals to inspect and fix the default, as you might cause more damage doing it yourself. 


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