Although people do not yet make up the bulk of the septic systems in use across the country today, an aerobic septic system seems to be the subject of more major installations. It makes sense, really, as they offer faster waste breakdown, cleaner operation, and fewer trips for the pump truck.
Because they are more complicated than standard non-aerobic systems, they do require more maintenance to keep them functioning correctly.
If you are thinking of installing an aerobic septic system, they not only present you the requirements of the standard installation, but they also require more. For example:
- A standard system requires the proper grade so that wastewater flows downward, and it may require a leaching field and overflows.
- The aerobic system uses these basics and adds the need for a separate electrical service, proper electrical installation, and ground consideration, as well as extra venting for the aeration system and an air injection system to keep the aerobic bacteria alive and working. An aerobic system also requires a place for a motor and drive, as well as churning panels and it also requires its own electrical panel and switch plus relay.
It is very easy to fall into a trap with aerobic system. Since they turn solids into cleaner wastewater for your leaching field, you may think that they do not require constant monitoring, but they do as we have heard stories of folks who have gone on for weeks thinking their systems were working correctly only to find, one day, that not only does their backyard resemble a tropical estuary with very wet ground, but that when the wind hits right they do not want to be home. It's time for a visit from the very truck they are trying to avoid. So, you have to make sure that not only is the electrical panel working correctly, but also that the aeration/air injection system is working as is the churning system. You can only do this by looking at maintenance ports and keeping detailed records.
While this may look like Step 2, it is not. You have to make sure that all of the electrical systems are working properly and that they are properly grounded. It is very easy for a three-phase motor to lose a phase or to lose contact with the ground connection so that the whole system becomes “hot.” You must use a volt ohmmeter, from time to time, to check to see if the frame of your system is hot and a potential problem.
Overall Maintenance Consideration
Because aerobic systems work more quickly than anaerobic systems, you still have to make sure that the general health of your system is maintained. A dose of Rid-X isn't a bad idea from time to time or some other chemical that can help things remain working correctly.
Overall, the aerobic septic system is the wave of the future where standard sewage systems are not permitted, but it does take work for you to make sure that they work correctly.