Septic Tanks & Soakaways

For your septic tanks and soakaways, the bio-augmentation treatment process is used to ensure that the microbes that are selectively chosen are the best to keep your septic tank healthy, while the specific microbes remain the dominant population in the system.

Why you should care about the maintenance of your septic tank and soakaway?

Failure to maintain your septic tank and soak away can lead to very unpleasant conditions, including:

  1. Drain line back flow – This is when you experience slow drainage on sinks, toilets, and bathtubs in your home.
  2. Septic tank overflow  This can be easily noticed, whenever you smell sewage odour or notice wet areas or standing water on the ground near your tank or soakaway.
  3. Soakaway (French drain) damming up – Bright green grass over the soakaway is an indication that there could be water going upward, forming a dam, rather than soaking away underground. Potential blockage of the soakaway.
  4. Groundwater contamination – This is not easy to notice, but if you are using a borehole, it will be seen in the borehole analysis. If you are using a borehole as well as a septic tank and soak away system, it is important to check water quality regularly for nitrate, nitrite, or coliform bacteria to avoid consuming wastewater from a malfunctioning septic system.

All of these challenges pose a health risk and can be very uncomfortable and expensive to fix.

What is the problem, in more detail?

Well, let’s start with what must happen in your septic tank, and then move on to what can go wrong inside your septic tank…

Your septic tank is a living environment; where the sewage and waste are allowed to flow to the tank, following with the microbes starting to digest the organics, fats, oils, and grease (FOG). The entire system is designed to keep microbes healthy and busy. Some microbes live in the tank, but most do their work in the drain field. See a typical layout below:


Typical Domestic Soakaway System

The microbes in your septic tank digest all the waste anaerobically (bacteria that works without air).  A layer of sludge falls to the bottom,  composed of inorganic solids. The sludge is non-biodegradable and the by-products of microbial digestion. A layer of scum floats to the top; primarily composed of fats, greases, and oils. The septic tank acts as a settling pond where greases and oils float to the top and the heavier solids sink to the bottom. The outlet of the septic tank goes into a French drain or soakaway, and this where the microbes will further digest the organics, and possibly remove some nutrients.

The soakaway is a drain field that allows the treated water to percolate (seep)  into the ground. It consists of a series of pipes with holes in them, covered by selected gravel which allows seepage to take place. Some oxygen reaches the microbes, and they start digesting the organics aerobically (bacteria that work with air).

‘When your septic tank is not healthy, conditions inside change. The organics and FOG are not digested or carried over to the soakaway system – because the soakaway is not designed to handle a high volume of solids it will soon block. The results typically are drain line back flow, septic tank overflow and soak away damming up, which is all immediately visible. This could be noticed by slow drainage of toilets and bathtubs, very bad smell and standing water around your system.

All this is caused when the microbes in your system are not kept alive and thriving.

So, how does this happen?

As mentioned, your septic tank needs to be kept healthy and alive. Overuse of conventional cleaning chemicals will kill the microbes in your septic tank. This leads to microbe die-off, which inhibits the microbiology in the septic tank, also interfering with the settling ability of solids. Typical cleaning agents used are bleach, dishwashing liquids, washing powders, body wash, soaps, and toilet cleaner which contain chemicals such as:

  • Ammonia, bleach, surfactants, phosphates and other elements detrimental to the health of your septic tank microbes.

Put simply, chemical cleaning solutions are likely destroying your septic tank. This is why it is crucial to build awareness about safe non-hazardous cleaning products as well as to ensure that care is taken in disposing of liquid chemical waste in homes.

How can this be prevented?

There is a solution that can continuously attend to the health and well-being of your septic tank and soakaway system, NanoSep. All you need to do is follow these simple guidelines that will assist in a healthy septic tank:

  • Limit the use of harsh chemicals.
  • Avoid drain cleaners and oxidative chemicals.
  • Implement a bioaugmentation regime.

With bio-augmentation (adding good microbes to your septic tank), potential problems can be avoided, and the life of your septic tank and soakaway (French drain) extended.

What does Bio-augmentation mean?

Well, Bio-augmentation is the process of adding and utilizing selected good microbes and enzymes to enhance the microbe community and assist the biological digestion and clean-up of a specified contaminant, in this case, the septic tank waste. It is natures way of cleaning up, we only assist with adding more of the good microbes.

Specific non-pathogenic microbes are formulated and added to your septic tank system, by simple addition to your toilet, or more industrial applications by dosing pumps. These microbes selected, form enzymes, primarily protease, which break down proteins into amino acids in your septic tank.

Why will this help?

For your septic tank, the bio-augmentation treatment process is used to ensure that the microbes that are selectively chosen are the best to keep your septic tank healthy. When the specific microbes remain the dominant population in the system, the characteristics of the entire microbial community is improved.  When harsh chemicals kill-off the microbes in your septic tank, bio-augmentation will supplement the community and thus neutralising the effect of the chemicals.

As mentioned above, the correctly chosen microbial strain can produce enzymes, including protease, which is ideal for the digestion of the septic tank waste. The following enzymes have the following jobs:

  • Protease – These enzymes break down proteins (e.g. meat products) into amino acids.

Other enzymes in the product include:

  • Lipase – Breaks down fats/grease (triglycerides) into glycerol and fatty acids. This Enzyme applies to the product for FOG treatment. This enzyme breaks down the FOG in the grease trap, and assists in the prevention of downstream blockages, due to deposits.
  • Amylase –– These enzymes catalyse the break-down of starch into sugars which are then further used as a food source for the microbes. Starch acts as a glue for dirt.
  • Cellulase – breaks down cellulosic material.
  • Urease – catalyses the hydrolysis of urea into break-down products.
  • Xylanase – help in breaking down plant cell walls.

The market requires a reliable and easy to operate solutions.  For this reason, Nanotech has packaged a bioaugmentation solution, NanoSep, that utilizes microbes and enzymes in our product,  suited for the following septic tank applications:

  • Rural communities
  • Domestic dwellings,
  • Industrial,
  • Hospitals,
  • Hotels + Holiday Resorts
  • Mining Camps, Hostels, Lodges
  • Shopping centres and Retail shops

In essence, any application with a septic tank system.

So, what will bio-augmentation do?

It will do the following:

  • Keep your septic tank healthy and alive.
  • Bioremediation of the waste.
  • Control the odours from your septic tank.
  • Break down the solids.
  • Reduces the COD/BOD.
  • Reduces nutrients like Phosphates, Ammonium,
  • Less growth and transfer of pathogenic disease-causing organisms.
  • Reduced environmental pollution
  • With the solids being liquefied and then digested there is a lower requirement for sludge pump-out.
  • A reduced propensity for flies.

Very important – Please note the following:

  • Reduce the use of non-biodegradable detergents, as far as possible. Bio-degradable alternatives are available and have proven to be advantageous, please contact us to try out the Nanotech range. 
  • Do not use anti-bacterial or biocidal products, as this will prevent the treatment from working.
  • Do not use any harsh chemicals such as strong acids or bases as this will kill the bacteria.

What are the key features we’d like you to know?

  • All our ingredients are readily biodegradable and comply with the standard test method specified under OECD 301.
  • They contain active natural bacteria.
  • Compatible with downstream water treatment and re-use systems.
  • Global Green Tag Certified (by technology partner)
  • Our product is long-lasting and has a 24 months shelf life if stored correctly.
  • Product is very safe:
    • Non-hazardous.
    • Non-carcinogenic.
    • Non-genetically modified.
    • Non-pathogenic

What is the next step? Why should you buy from us?

Our product is proven in the market, and the benefits to you are evident. In addition to our expertise in assisting with your challenge, we can offer you a  30-day 100% money-back guarantee, should the product not perform as required, after correct application, and optimization by us.

This is us, putting our money, where our confidence lies…. No risk to you….

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS | SEPTIC TANKS & SOAKAWAYS

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