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Are Septic Tank Additives Effective?

Are Septic Tank Additives Effective?

Septic system additive vendors often market their products as necessities that improve septic system performance or repair failing systems. Today, there are more than 120 additives on the market that claim to keep septic tanks trouble-free by breaking down organic waste. However, research has shown that tank additives may not be nearly as effective as they are marketed. In some cases, septic tank additives may even interfere with normal tank functions and cause problems that are even more expensive, inconvenient, and time-consuming to fix than simply having your tank pumped every three to five years. So, what’s the verdict on tank additives? Read on to find out.

Septic System Treatment Functions

Before you can begin to assess the effectiveness of septic tank additives, you should first understand the treatment functions of septic systems. Septic tanks are designed to provide quiescent conditions over time to allow settleable solids to sink to the bottom of the tank and floatable solids to rise to the surface. The result is a middle layer of clarified effluent that exits the tank and enters the soil absorption field. The soil then treats wastewater effluent through chemical, physical, and biological processes.

Effect of Additives on Treatment Processes

Now that you have an understanding of septic system treatment functions, you can accurately assess the effectiveness of different tank additives. Biological additives are those composed of bacteria and extracellular enzymes mixed with surfactants or nutrient solutions. These additives do not significantly enhance biological decomposition processes inside the tank, as human waste contains abundant bacteria that are remarkably resilient. Odor control additives are advertised to control septic odors by killing bacteria, but this objective is counter to the purpose and function of septic tanks. If odors are a concern, contact your San Francisco sept tank maintenance provider to learn about odor control solutions.

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