A well-functioning septic system is necessary for the disposal of waste. It needs to be maintained by regularly pumping it, too, to ensure that it works properly.
One of the options for a septic system is an aerobic septic system. This setup relies on injecting oxygen into the sewage waste to stimulate the growth of oxygen-dependent bacteria that filter and break down wastewater and solid wastes. However, the popular setup nowadays is the conventional gravity-powered septic system with anaerobic bacteria or bacteria that do not depend on oxygen to live.
How does an aerobic septic system work?
The aerobic septic system, also referred to as the Aerobic Treatment Unit, (ATU) depends on oxygen infusion to process wastewater and solid wastes. Inside the ATU, oxygen-dependent bacteria treat and filter sewage. The oxygen infusion renders the sewage oxygen-rich and supports the aerobic bacteria. Compared to the conventional system that utilizes a complex process to process wastewater and solid wastes, an aerobic septic system uses a natural process.
What are the advantages of an aerobic septic system?
There are three main advantages of the aerobic septic system compared to the conventional septic system. These are:
- The aerobic septic system produces cleaner effluent. After processing wastewater, effluent is the liquid that is released back to nature via the drain field. Thus, an aerobic septic system is environment-friendly. Cleaner effluent is better for areas with high water tables and sensitive areas.
- Aerobic septic system processes waste faster. This is because aerobic bacteria break down wastewater and solid waste much more quickly than anaerobic bacteria. Faster processing of waste means the system is emptied faster, too, via effluent released to the drain field.
- Uses a smaller drain field. Compared to the conventional septic system, an aerobic septic system requires a smaller drain field. Using an aerobic septic system reduces the required space for the drain field.
The advantages outlined above are some of the benefits one can enjoy when choosing an aerobic septic system over the conventional one.
What are the downsides of using an aerobic septic system?
Despite having significant benefits over the conventional setup, the aerobic septic system is not popular. Often, a household will only have an aerobic septic system after opting to replace a failed traditional septic system. Here are some disadvantages of using an aerobic septic system:
- Expensive. The cost of installing an aerobic septic system is often higher than that of a conventional septic system.
- Requires electricity in the setup. An aerobic septic system involves the injection of oxygen into the wastewater by pumping air through the sewage. Not only does this add to the cost of installation, but it also incurs repeating electrical costs.
- The maintenance cost is high. Because an aerobic septic system requires a steady airflow to introduce oxygen to the system, the additional hardware needed makes the setup more complex than the conventional one. As a result, maintenance costs are also higher. If you decide to use an aerobic septic system, be prepared for the maintenance cost.
- Not allowed in most municipalities. Not all towns or cities allow the installation of an aerobic septic system. Even if you want to install one, realizing its benefits and having prepared for its downsides, you still need to check with the town or city before you complete your purchase of the system.
In essence, if you want to take advantage of the features of an aerobic septic system, you need to prepare yourself for handling the additional cost and dealing with the local regulations and laws.
Key reasons why you need an aerobic septic system
After reading through the features, advantages, and disadvantages of the aerobic septic system, you might feel that you’re still undecided. The following reasons will help you finally decide whether an aerobic septic system is for you or not.
A well-maintained aerobic septic system could last around 40-50 years. The key to longevity is proper septic system installation. To ensure that your septic system lasts long, choose a reliable septic system contractor in your area. Another way to ensure longevity is a regular septic tank inspection and cleaning. A typical aerobic septic system would need inspection and cleaning every 2-3 years.
Treats waste better
If you are into a septic system that produces a cleaner effluent, the aerobic septic system is for you. Also, if you live in an area with a high water table, an aerobic septic system would be the most appropriate septic system to install because the likelihood of contaminating groundwater with it is way much lower.
Requires little space
Although the septic tank size still depends on several factors including the household size and the way household members use and dispose of water and waste via the system, compared to the conventional septic system, the aerobic septic system uses way less space. This is ideal for properties with smaller spaces.
Treats waste faster
Compared to the conventional setup, an aerobic septic system treats and breaks the solid wastes way faster. The slow conventional septic system is prone to waste accumulation reaching alarming levels that would necessitate a frequent septic tank pumping service. However, an aerobic septic system processes wastewater and solid waste faster; thus effluent is produced much more frequently and is drained to the drain field immediately, preventing the rise of the level of waste. Therefore, an aerobic septic system does not need to be pumped as frequently as the conventional one.
Saves money in the long run
Although an aerobic septic system is much more expensive to set up and install than the conventional ones and incurs monthly electric costs, it saves users money in the long run. Most of the wastewater treatment in the aerobic septic system happens inside the tank. Therefore, only effluent is released to the drain field. In addition, the rate at which it treats the waste is fast, too. Thus, your drain field needs no frequent repairs saving you lots of money in the long run.
Friendly to the environment
An aerobic septic system allows for wastewater to be recycled. Thus, water from your laundry or shower can be recycled and used for plants and lawn making it a green solution for septic systems at home.
Suppose it is your first time to own or install a septic tank. In that case, it is wiser to depend on the expertise of experienced and reputable septic system installers. Find one in your area and seek their advice. If you already have one, it is still never too late to seek professional help and guidance on the changes that need to be done. These professionals can also help you assess your place and your capability and assist you, in the process, in deciding between a conventional septic system and an aerobic septic system.