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A septic tank wastewater treatment system is a simple, low cost, low maintenance alternative for houses not connected to a public sewer.

The EPA provides practical advice on their website www.epa.ie on how a system can be designed and constructed to suit the site conditions.

The recent Water Services Amendment act 2012 required the EPA to produce a national inspection plan to ensure that these systems do not pose an undue risk to water resources. By now most owners of septic tank wastewater treatment systems should be registered with their local authority and should expect an inspection over the next few years.

A septic tank wastewater treatment system is generally out of sight and therefore often out of mind, and we only take notice of it, when it malfunctions. The consequences of a malfunction can be very disruptive and can be costly to fix. For instance there are many cases that have required the excavation of mature landscaped gardens.

Here are a few tips.

  • Know where your septic tank and percolation area is. Many householders could take you to their septic tank, but how many know where the percolation area is ?
  • Desludge the tank. If you haven’t then there is something wrong, because there is always material that cannot be broken down in a septic tank and it accumulates and will ultimately need to be removed every 1-2 years.
  • The frequency of emptying can be reduced by not discharging oils fats and grease down the sink. Dry wipe or recycle them. Of course some will be unavoidably washed down and the septic tank will cope with small amounts.
  • Be sensible with the use of cleaning products in the house that are discharged to the septic tank.

In general these will not impede the tank operation. But over zealous use of cleaning products such as bleaches, detergents and antibacterial products can impede the good bacteria in your tank.

Septic tanks that have been constructed to a high standard and are maintained and operated properly do not require the use of an additive product. However the busy lifestyle that families lead nowadays, often means the house is only occupied sporadically. The septic tank does not get any flow for periods of the week and is then overloaded at other times. These conditions are not ideal and can lead to inefficient processes in the tank. This can be the time to consider the use of an additive. Market research shows that there is a need for these products and there are over 1000 different products on sale promising different benefits. There is a lack of impartial advice on how and when to use these products and scientific research on their effectiveness is incomplete, but on the other hand there is abundant anecdotal data on their effectiveness and there is no doubt that some products do provide benefits while others don’t. So when should you consider using products and what is the most appropriate product.
• Excessive odour from your tank, that is entering your house, preventing you enjoying your garden, or causing a nuisance for neighbours, may be caused by an imbalance in the bacterial population of your tank, and could be eliminated by use of an appropriate additive product.

  • Some older tanks may need a clean to remove unessential scum, slime and solids in an effective safe manner. This together with regular emptying will prolong the life of your tank.
  • Inadvertent use of cleaning products, excessive disposal of oil fats and grease or the use of biological agents by members of the household, may cause an imbalance in the bacterial population, that can be rectified by the use of an additive.
  • Poor scheduling of domestic washing for instance when everything is washed at once can cause an overload of detergents, that can damage the bacterial population.

Recognising the fact that not all tanks need additives, but on occasions some do, what advice can be given to avoid poor quality additive products.

  • Avoid products that promise a quick-fix solution. A quick fix, probably means that the problem is moved rather than solved and may re-appear causing further problems, or may shift the problem from the tank to the percolation area, causing problems that are more difficult to solve.
  • Avoid products that contain enzymes, as these will often just push the problem further down the system.
  • Avoid using products that use chemicals that could pollute groundwater or the environment.
  • Avoid using products that are freeze dried. These are made for the convenience of shelf life rather than efficacy. Tests on some of these products have shown that only a small fraction of the bacteria come to life, when hydrated. Other studies were hard pressed to find any one bacteria at all.

Bio-oxy has been developed to counteract all of these disadvantages. It has been in development for more than 10 years. 

  • The product has been developed at IT Carlow, which has a high competency profile in the area of microbiology.
  • Researchers studied many of the products currently available on the market and found them not to be capable of delivering the promises made.
  • Extensive research work was undertaken to identify specific bacteria, that make a difference without causing harm to the septic tank system.
  • Controlled scientific trials were undertaken over a 3 year period to confirm the effectiveness of the bacteria in a wide range of conditions.
  • The bacteria are mainly facultative, ie they can survive and operate in either aerobic or anaerobic conditions and they efficiently digest waste to simple carbon dioxide and water, with no residual products.
  • A method of keeping the bacteria alive was found, which also allows a slow release of the bacteria, giving on-going protection and benefits.
  • A production process was developed, which makes the product cost effective to produce at the Natural Bio-solutions facility in Carlow.
  • The product is safe to use for humans, animals, plant and aquatic life.
  • It is an Irish product to solve problems with Irish septic tanks 

Bio-Oxy™ product range significantly reduces fats, oils & greases in wastewater

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