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Jan
28
2011

Aerobic Bacteria in Septic Systems: Turbocharged Waste Processing

by Karl Holt

Aerobic Bacteria

It is well documented that aerobic bacteria is 80 to 90 percent more efficient at breaking down organic waste products than anaerobic bacteria. The reason why can be found in an analysis of the differences in the respiration processes. Both respiration processes have to have electron transfers between elements and molecules to complete a series of complex chemical reactions. More precisely, both processes have to have elements or molecules willing to accept electrons for bacterial life to exist.  These electron acceptors are commonly known as oxidizers.

The choices for oxidizers in an anaerobic environment are, in general, poor when compared to the aerobic oxidizer, oxygen. Oxygen is one of the strongest oxidizers in nature and many times more likely to accept an electron than any of the anaerobic oxidizer candidates. The probability of an oxygen oxidizer accepting an electron is far greater than the probability of any of the anaerobic oxidizers accepting an electron. As a result, an aerobic environment will have dramatically more chemical processes occurring at any one time when compared to a similarly sized anaerobic environment. This is the reason that aerobic bacterial growth can be explosive.  One bacteria can potentially spawn millions of offspring in a short period of time.

Taking advantage of these dynamic and efficient living organisms in a septic system can greatly extend the life of any septic system. A carefully controlled conversion from an anaerobic to an aerobic environment in the septic tank can successfully happen within days. The aerobic environment spreads quickly from the septic tank into the absorption field and will continue to thrive until either the oxygen or food source is restricted or eliminated.

It is a fact: aerobic environments are chemically more active than anaerobic environments.  One of the important reasons why this is so is the ease at which oxygen accepts an electron!

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