Last week I noticed a smell, very unpleasant, coming from the vent pipe of our septic tank. Well that is just not acceptable, we use that garden area every day and that was just not going to work so I set Joe upon the task of researching on the trusty internet, the solutions to this problem. If the septic tank is not happy Momma is not happy!
First you need to understand the workings of a septic tank system. So we will call this sections Septic Tank 101:
A septic tank should have very little odor… if it does have an odor there is something wrong with the bacterial action. Odor is caused by the lack of bacteria. If you don’t have the correct amount of bacteria in a septic system, you will have terrible odors. Something is killing the bacteria in this septic system and you need to get it balanced or you will have more problems.
Below is a summary of what your systems needs to run efficiently this is from Contractor, the entire article can be found at: http://contractormag.com/plumbing/cm_newsarticle_449
“A septic tank must have oxygen to feed the bacteria to keep them working correctly — living, multiplying and digesting the sewage. Anaerobic and aerobic are the two major types of bacteria in a septic system. In either an aeration system or a leach bed on a regular septic system, aerobic bacteria are the majority of the bacteria and they work much faster than anaerobic bacteria. Aerobic bacteria in a regular septic tank work on the crust on the top, usually on the topside. They are able to do that because of the air coming from the vent in the house!”
I had heard that flushing a few tablespoons of yeast into your toilet every month helps this. I have been doing this with all the houses that we have lived in for the past six years, but the amount was nowhere near what Joe discovered. His research discovered that if you “feed your septic tank” a pound of yeast and a cup of brown sugar each month your septic tank will thank you by doing its job more efficiently and you should not smell any odor at all.
Here are a few more articles that talk about this natural way of balancing your septic tank so that it works better for you.
I only had 175 grams of dry yeast and a little under a cup of brown sugar so I put around 100 grams of yeast and all of the brown sugar down the toilet. Within that same day there was no odor from the vent pipe at all.
The big issues in small towns like San Clemente is there are not any companies out there that pump septic tanks. So if you have a problem you may be waiting a very long time before you can get the municipality to come in to pump. This happened to us in Playas, once it started to rain the septic tanks filled and our home was put on a list, it took weeks for our tank to be pumped…it was not a happy situation. Prevention is your best solution!
The other issue discussed was to keep an alkaline environment in the septic tank – acidic is caused by the beaches and other cleaners especially that find their way down the sink and toilet and shower. We need to find more baking soda to add this as well.