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Are Bacteria or Enzymes More Important for Septic Systems?

If you have a septic, AWTS or greywater system you’ve probably heard of wastewater additives and how they can improve your systems effectiveness, reduce the need for pump outs and increase its overall lifespan. 

What confuses many people is the difference between bacteria based additives and enzyme based additives and which is more effective. These are the two most traditional and most commonly advertised additive types. What most people don’t realise is that there is a newer and much more effective type – the biological stimulant based additive. 

To help you understand the difference between these three types of wastewater additives, let’s quickly go over how waste is broken down and the role that bacteria and enzymes play.

How waste is broken down

All organic waste is digested by bacteria; whether it’s in your wastewater system, in a landfill or in compost, bacteria are responsible for turning waste into a safe and more compact form. 

A septic tank, aerated wastewater treatment system or greywater tank is essentially an isolated space for waste to collect so that beneficial bacteria can digest it and treat it. Beneficial bacteria turn organic waste into water, carbon dioxide, methane and some residual waste. The residual waste is what needs to be pumped out of your tank every few years; without bacteria your tank would fill up in months or weeks.

Waste digestion
  1. In the presence of a food source such as waste, bacteria produce enzymes which are catalysts that break up waste molecules. 
  2. The enzymes break up large waste molecules into smaller particles. 
  3. Bacteria then consume the smaller waste particles – digesting and turning the waste into water, carbon dioxide, methane and some residual waste. 

Bacteria and enzymes are both essential for wastewater treatment, and bacteria produce enzymes so it seems logical that adding bacteria to a failing system will create enzymes and fix any issues. While this could happen, this doesn’t take into account the reason bacterial populations were low in the first place.

Biological conditions

All living organisms have certain biological conditions within which they can survive. If temperature, oxygen levels, pH or availability of nutrients isn’t correct, life ceases to exist. If your wastewater system is failing it’s usually due to insufficient bacteria, which is a result of poor biological conditions. 

Conventional cleaning products, medicines and even too much water upset the biological conditions within your system, kill the beneficial bacteria and prevent the system from breaking down waste. 

Improving the biological conditions is the most effective way to restore the healthy bacterial populations which keep your system running at peak performance.

Types of wastewater additive

Enzyme based additives

Adding enzymes to your wastewater system will speed up the initial waste breakdown phase, but it won’t overcome the conditions that are killing the bacteria.

Bacteria based additives

The reality of adding bacteria to your wastewater system is that the amount being added is insignificant in comparison to what’s needed to break down waste. More importantly, the poor biological conditions which killed the bacteria in the first place will likely kill any new bacteria being added.

Biological stimulant based additives

Biological stimulant based additives contain specialised nutrients and natural ingredients that improve the biological conditions and boost the activity and growth rate of beneficial bacteria. This allows healthy populations of bacteria to survive, thrive and digest waste effectively.

Which type of wastewater additive should you choose?

Biological stimulant based wastewater additives have proven to be the most effective way to fix issues and prevent them from returning.

By improving the biological conditions within your system you’ll be able to maintain healthy bacterial populations needed to effectively digest waste, treat wastewater and prevent odours and blockages.

EcoCare Activator contains a blend of biological stimulants, natural ingredients and biodegradable surfactants that improve the biological conditions within wastewater systems, promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, remove odours and prevent blockages.

EcoCare Activator is used by thousands of homes and businesses across Australia to restore and maintain septic, AWTS and grey water systems. Containing a blend of micro and macro nutrients, readily biodegradable surfactants and biological stimulants, EcoCare Activator is highly effective, environmentally responsible and the most reliable way to keep your wastewater system healthy.

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