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Is adding bacteria or enzymes in a septic tank beneficial?

How do septic systems work?

Septic system consists of a septic tank and leach field. The septic tank holds the solid waste matter where the bacteria work on breaking down the organic matter.

A healthy septic system consists of large colonies of bacteria which do the heavy lifting and break down the organic matter present in the wastewater. Bacteria in the septic tank breaks down the solid particles into liquid and gas. The grease and oils rise and form a layer of scum at the top while the solid material that bacteria cannot break down settles down at the bottom as a layer of sludge.

The effluent (liquid layer) between the scum and sludge flows to the leach field and enters the soil where the nutrients can be absorbed.

How is waste broken down in the septic tank?

  • Large colonies of bacteria thrive in the septic tank
  • Bacteria produce enzymes that act as a catalyst to break down the organic matter into smaller particles
  • Bacteria digest the waste particles and allow the liquid to separate and form the effluent

Under normal conditions, the bacteria can thrive on their own and do not need additives.

Need professional advice on septic system maintenance? Let our septic system experts help you.

Should you add bacteria or enzymes?

There's no magic or quick trick which can help your septic system work better. In a healthy tank, the natural bacteria should be enough to operate the septic tank efficiently. However, if you are putting harmful chemcials down the drain, it can kill the bacteria. Without bacteria, organic waste won’t break down and you will have to get the septic tank pumped more frequently.

Just regular maintenance and pumping of the septic system is sufficient to keep the system working. Septic systems already have enough bacteria to treat the wastewater so adding additional bacteria or enzyme won’t really help. If the tank is not functioning properly as it hasn’t been pumped out or you are flushing things that destroy the healthy bacteria, your best option would be to get professional help.

How to maintain your septic system?

Some ways to maximise the life of your septic system include:

  • Conserve water - Use less water as excess water usage can put extra load on the system and overload the naturally occurring bacteria.
  • Do not flush harmful materials - If you flush chemicals like paints, solvents, bleach, household cleaners, chlorine, medicines down the drain they will kill the bacteria and also clog up the system. Only flush toilet paper and waste to keep your system in good condition.
  • Regular maintenance - Get the septic system inspected annually by a wastewater specialist. It is also recommended to have the tank pumped every 3-5 years

To learn more about maintaining your septic system, check out the following links:

Your Local Septic System Experts

If you need information about your septic system or if it is not working as expected, get in contact with our wastewater experts.

We provide services throughout South-East Queensland. From design to installation, repairs to maintenance, our experienced professionals can help you with cost-effective solutions for your residential or commercial septic system. Complete our online enquiry form or give us a call on 1300 722 517.

Is adding bacteria or enzymes in a septic tank beneficial? Let our experts help you.

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Why Use Express Wastewater Solutions?


    Because we are not a manufacturer and not tied to one particular system we can always offer the best solution for your wastewater needs.


    Because we do this every day we have developed a close knit expert team for every step of the process – from plans and council paperwork to excavations, electrical and plumbing. We handle it all to make the whole process as stress free and quick as possible.


    Most people have never installed a home sewerage treatment plant and don’t know the next step, that is why we offer a free 30 minute phone consult with one of our experts to point you in the right direction.


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    Not sure what system is right for you, or want to know if your system is working properly? Just give one of our friendly wastewater experts a call and they will be more than happy to help.


    We will always look to repair your system rather than replace it if it does not need to be, which will generally save large amounts of money sometimes up to and over $10,000.