Some septic systems have an added component called an aerobic treatment unit. Aerobic treatment units (ATU) sit in-line “behind” a septic tank and add oxygen to the effluent to “pre-treat” the waste and help it to break down before it is discharged to the soil. ATUs break down organic solids faster, and tend to reduce the amount of harmful pathogens in the effluent water.
ATUs work by introducing compressed oxygen into the septic process. The septic tank is the first stage of this treatment strategy. It retains the largest solids, just as it always would. The ATU is the second stage of the process, and draws fluid from the septic tank. Because the contents of the septic tank are being moved, the solids that are suspended in the effluent don’t settle out as quickly, giving the bacteria a better opportunity to decompose them more completely. In addition, bacteria thrive in a highly oxygenated environment. Bacteria that do settle out are returned to the ATU to continue the decomposition process.
Aerobic treatment units can help eliminate biomat layer
ATUs tend to eliminate the biomat layer that forms in a traditional septic system. The output of an ATU contains very little organic matter, which is good. The downside is that gravity, which is a key component of moving effluent out of a conventional tank, doesn’t work so well with an ATU. To compensate, ATUs also have a pump that generates enough pressure to distribute water more evenly through the drainage field.
When an ATU is working properly, it produces a high quality effluent. This is good news for your drain field. Typically, the higher quality the effluent, the better able the drain field is to accept it. Adding an ATU to your septic tank may help extend the life of your drain field, and can help recover a drain field that has failed or is failing due to lack of maintenance. ATUs are also very helpful in “environmentally sensitive” areas, near lakes and streams, or in areas with shallow groundwater, or that are near bedrock.
Aerobic treatment units require some additional space, and some changes to the drainage field. In addition to the septic tank itself, an ATU can require an additional 25 square feet or more, and must be placed near the septic tank. Additionally, a small pump tank is placed inline after the ATU to help with the distribution of the discharge into the drain field.
Regular septic maintenance is exceptionally important to avoid drain field failure, whether you have an ATU or not. Clear Drain Cleaning can assist with a wide variety of drain maintenance tasks. Whether you need help with your interior drains, exterior drains or maintenance on your septic system, we can help. Give us a call at (330) 343-7146 to set up an appointment today.