The single biggest reason septic systems fail is due to the buildup of undigested organic matter. When a septic system is working properly, the majority of organic matter is broken down in the tank. This allows for a free flow of excess liquid into the drain, or leech, field. But if too much undigested organic matter reaches the drainfield, an accumulation of slime is created that eventually results in the creation of a sludge-like layer in the soil that is called a biomat. Once the biomat builds to the point of blocking the drainage of liquid from the pipes, the system steadily degrades to the point of a total backup.
The most effective way to avoid the creation of a biomat is a regular maintenance program. In order for a septic system to operate properly the majority of organic matter must be broken down in the tank. This requires the presence of bacteria that decompose the waste in either an aerobic (containing oxygen) or anaerobic (lacking oxygen) environment. A regular maintenance program that adds environment compatible bacteria to the tank can assure that organic matter is properly broken down in a way that keeps the excess liquid as clear as possible.
With the sharp increase of antibacterial soaps, cleaners and other household products over the past decade, much of what now enters septic tanks is working against the very thing that is necessary for an effective breakdown of organic matter. One of the best ways to assure that organic matter is digested properly is to utilize an aerobic septic system pump that adds oxygen to the tank. It has been proven that aerobic bacteria can consume three times as much organic waste as anaerobic bacteria. If more septic systems were converted to an aerobic environment, many people would experience much fewer problems.