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  • Septic tanks smells

    One Way to Deodorise a Smelly Septic Tank
    When a Septic tank is “fed an improper diet” (for proper septic tank maintenance,
    please see the Septic Tank Maintenance page on this website), this can lead to a
    PH imbalance in the tank, which then becomes acidic. When this occurs bad odours
    are emitted from the septic system.
    To restore a slightly alkaline or normal PH in the tank the following is a simple
    method of use:-
    · Mix Five (5) kg of hydrated lime with water in a bucket. Flush the mixture down
    the toilet. Any hydrated lime residue left in the bucket is simply mixed with more
    water and again discharge through the system. This rapidly improved the odour
    problem. This is not recommended immediately prior to pumping the tank due to
    solids releasing into trenches and lime affecting soils.
    The use of enzyme pellets can assist in the breakdown of fatty materials in the septic
    tank trenches and can extend the life of trenches. These can be purchased from
    hardware stores.

  • #2
    Re: Septic tanks smells

    We used to (Mom and Dad still do, and havent had to pump in 5 years) add a pound of active bakers yeast per month right down the hopper. Yeast is some amazing stuff and for about $4 a bag it dosen't break the bank.


    • #3
      Re: Septic tanks smells

      maybe I am missing something here,

      but anaerobic Bactria has never been a pleasant smell to me, and if it does not have any anaerobic bacteria by killing it off by adding things then the unit will not digest the wast correctly,

      and regardless if you use additives or not, there will be at some point where the solids can not be broke down any more and the tank will fill up with solids,

      some of the pumping recommendations are so there is enough volume so that the new solids wasts can separate out and either float or sink, and be digested, by the microbes that live in the tank,

      if the flow of water is passing through the tank to fast they will be carried out into the drain field and in a short time plug that drain field,

      and if let go long enought it will jsut start to pass soilds out to the drain field as there is no longer room in the tank to store them,

      It is kinda of like changing oil on your car, you can extend the intervals and the car will last for some time, but the longer you neglect proper maintenance the shorter the life the septic system will have, and the drain field, but if you change your oil at regular intervals you will have a car that will last for a very long time,

      there are two basic septic systems the anaerobic and the aerobic system, the normal system is the anaerobic system with out oxygen, and the aerobic with oxygen, and most of the time the aerobic is less odorous but will have more cost as there is need for a air pump to keep the oxygen content up in the effluent, most to my understanding are less gallonage than there anaerobic counter parts, as the anaerobic is less efficience,
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      • #4
        Re: Septic tanks smells

        Originally posted by TozziWelding View Post
        We used to (Mom and Dad still do, and havent had to pump in 5 years) add a pound of active bakers yeast per month right down the hopper. Yeast is some amazing stuff and for about $4 a bag it doesn't break the bank.
        You may want to also add a few pounds of brown sugar.

        Yeast + brown sugar = Old farmer's way of keeping things good.


        • #5
          Re: Septic tanks smells

          I like ccls, a blue liquid product supposed to be live lab grown bacteria of the proper type. It's turned some downright rank tanks bearable in my experience, though even the healthiest tank doesn't exactly smell nice.
          This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.


          • #6
            Re: Septic tanks smells

            In the main septics smell because rain or surface water is getting in the top and diluting the crust.
            Stop the water, the crust dries out = smell goes.
            Note: Rain or surface water will push the floating suspended solids through the septic faster than the recommended eight hours, this means they are discharged into the drain field and will in time block it.
            A very expensive error.


            • #7
              Re: Septic tanks smells

              Most systems don't require anything to make it work properly. Yeast, brown sugar, cabbage, a pound of ground beef or even live bacteria are just not needed and a waste of money. If you abuse your system by using LOTS of bleach or LOTS of antibacterials or you have a chemo recipient or someone on heavy antibiotics then you should add some CCLS (I sell and recomend it too). The rest of the stuff equates to an old wives tale. In fact alot of it simply adds bulk to the system, causing it to need to be pumped more often.

              I was called out to a job where an old couple had used Rid Ex faithfully. They had their drainfield full of what looked like wet newspaper. They obviously used alot of paper. The Rid Ex caused it to be in a semi liquid state throughout the tank not allowing it to seperate thus sending it out to the drainfield plugging it. They got lucky and we were able to jet the drainfield and it worked.

              If you have an issue with septic odor it's usually a venting problem. Sometimes you need to extend the house vent or put a charcoal filter on it.

              If you don't know that the tank is high or low in PH for certain you shouldn't go messing around adding lime. You could kill all the bacteria. In short order your tank will plug up with solids that aren't breaking down (especially if you are a heavy paper user) and you will back up.

              Now comes the real fun part. Every treatment plant that I have ever dumped at makes you check the PH before you dump. If it's out of their acceptable range you don't dump. So you've just nuked your tank with too much lime, it plugs up, the pumper hauls it away (if he doesn't notice its screwed up), can't dump it and comes back to you for more money for the time and material he has to use to make the waste compliant.

              At my primary treatment plant if they turn down a load, they call the Department of Environmental Quality to report that they turned down a load and where it came from.

              My suggestion is call a professional if you get an odor.

              In my case, I go to two or three yearly conferences, meetings or tradeshows and read every issue of the Pumper magazine (particularly the Septic System Answer Man column) so I can keep up on the latest information about septic systems. Your pumper should too. We do all this so we can protect you, your neighbor and the environment from septage pollution.