Cherry-Picked Drainfield Rejuvenation Tools

In a struggling economy, budget-strapped customers seek cost-effective alternatives when systems fail. We've put together some drainfield rejuvenation options to help you extend the live of an onsite system.
Cherry-Picked Drainfield Rejuvenation Tools
Septic-Scrub drainfield flow restorer from Arcan Enterprises

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A frantic customer calls. He sees effluent surfacing around his onsite system, making the ground wet and mushy, and the grass is unusually green and lush over the drainfield. Your first thought? The drainfield is not functioning properly. In fact, it’s failing. Faced with a failing onsite septic system — and with the huge price tag of a completely new system — perhaps drainfield rejuvenation or system repair is your best bet. 

Kevin Loukes, owner of Charlton Septic Service in Charlton, N.Y., emphasizes septic system maintenance, repair and rejuvenation. In New York, engineers are required to design all new or replacement systems, which can easily add more than $1,000 to the cost, Kevin says. 

In a struggling economy, budget-strapped customers seek cost-effective alternatives. Bio/enzyme additives such as sewage treatment and disinfection tablets, bioremediation restoratives and soil repair solutions are designed to rejuvenate drainfields and extend the life of an onsite system. 

In addition to drainfield rejuvenation, Loukes also relies on chemical rejuvenation. He uses products designed to boost natural bacteria and enzymes in an effort to biologically break down organic buildup that can clog systems and create odors. 

“It’s cheaper than replacing a system,” he says. “But all the parameters have to be right: The distribution box must be in good shape, the system needs to be big enough to withstand the amount of water people are putting into the system, and so forth.”

Products such as additives and aerobic treatment units designed to repair or rejuvenate failing systems can save homeowners substantial cost — and headaches. Before throwing in the towel and deciding a system is a lost cause, see if the system responds to additives during a yearlong monitoring program.  

From enhancing natural biological activity in holding tanks and septic systems to restoring drainage to clogged drainfields, bio/enzyme additives can help you get the most out of a struggling system. Check out these options: 

  • Septic-Scrub drainfield flow restorer from Arcan Enterprises is a chemical treatment that oxidizes sulfides and releases oxygen into the drainfield. The process is similar to letting the system rest, but works faster. The environmentally friendly treatment is added between the septic tank and the drainfield, and can be used for preventive maintenance.
  • Accu-Tab aerobic wastewater tablets from Axiall don’t contain stearates, but instead are Hi-Sil silica, an erosion modifier that provides a steady source of available chlorine. They have a beveled edge and 2.5-inch diameter to reduce the impact of wicking, and are compatible with standard 2 5/8-inch aerobic wastewater feeders.
  • AfterShock soil absorption restorative from Cape Cod Biochemical Co. restores drainage to clogged and sluggish drainfields and drainage structures. It also prevents backups and eliminates odors. It contains multistrain bacillus spore-bearing bacteria as well as a bacteria-friendly, time-release oxygen source. It biologically digests solid material that normally clogs soil absorption areas.
  • Bio-GEM grease-eliminating microbe digester from Norweco is a blend of cultured bacteria, aggressive enzymes and natural growth accelerators developed to digest grease, fats and oils in wastewater treatment systems, lift stations, septic tanks, sand filters, drain lines and commercial grease traps. It works in aerobic or anaerobic conditions to quickly convert common grease, fats and oils into carbon dioxide and water.
  • Septic Drainer from RCS II repairs the soil in a septic drainfield damaged by hardpan soil issues. This hardpan soil layer causes aerobic bacteria to die off because of the restriction of airflow in the soil. Only anaerobic bacteria can survive without air. Anaerobic bacteria produce a waste product called biomat, which compounds the drainfield failure.
  • Mighty Mike U & F-BOOST! sewage treatment tablets from Scienco/FAST, a division of Bio-Microbics, optimize tank capacity and reduce pumpout frequency. They are formulated with over 25 billion active Class 1 organisms per gram, which make them ideal for enhancing natural biological activity in holding tanks and small conventional septic systems. 

Versatile advanced treatment technology includes everything from a simple sand filter to allow for aerobic conditions to packaged moving bed biological reactors with an attached-growth process for biological treatment.  

Regardless of the approach you take, or what is regulated in your state, when septic systems fail, you need options. Aerobic treatment units offer an alternative to complete system replacement when, over time, biomats restrict treatment, soil pores clog and systems malfunction. 

Here are some aerobic treatment options we cherry-picked for the next time the phone rings and a frantic customer is on the other end: 

  • PuraMax packaged product from Anua is a moving bed biological reactor (MBBR) and is suitable for high-strength waste pretreatment. Following a primary tank, and attached-growth process provides biological treatment. Recycled plastic biocarriers, suspended in the tank, provide large surface area for bacteria to attach and grow. An aeration grid supplies oxygen to the biofilm, along with the mixing energy required to keep the biocarriers suspended throughout the tank.
  • MicroFAST wastewater treatment systems from Bio-Microbics use Fixed Integrated Treatment Technology to produce clear, odorless effluent with nutrient-reduction that is suitable for subsurface irrigation or surface discharge with additional disinfection (where regulations permit). The attached-growth process has been engineered to fit most treatment capacities, between 500 to more than 100,000 gpd for residential and commercial applications.
  • The 620C from Eliminite is an advanced treatment technology ideal for high-strength waste applications like RV parks, ski resorts, golf resorts, microbreweries, taverns, churches, schools, restaurants, convenience stores, highway rest areas and more. It is especially useful for remote oil and gas development projects where wastewater from man camps, hydraulic fracturing and residential development in non-municipal locations needs to be treated for reuse or safe disposal
  • The GSF Geotextile Sand Filter from Eljen Corporation provides advanced treatment and dispersal in the same footprint. The internal design provides sufficient void space to allow for aerobic conditions, while the Bio-Matt fabric promotes biological growth on its multiple surfaces. The fabric enhances system performance and keeps the biological growth away from native soil, preserving the soil’s long-term acceptance rate.
  • The Envirocycle G7-Series 1200 GPD install-anywhere treatment system from Envirocycle USA exceeds ANSI-NSF 40/245/350 performance requirements with no extra trash or dose tanks needed. It requires no preventive maintenance and is safe for drip tube dispersal. Lightweight and compact, it can be airlifted to remote installation sites. Full remote monitoring and control is standard.
  • The Aquaworx Remediator from Infiltrator Systems is a simple, easy-to-install septic system remediation technology that rejuvenates most failing septic systems with minimal landscape disruption. Inserted into an existing septic tank of a malfunctioning system, it reverses the biological clogging process causing the failure in as little as two weeks, and requires nominal operation and maintenance cost.
  • Utilizing an enhanced, non-submerged attached growth system, the M400, M550, and M750 treatment process from SeptiTech – a subsidiary of Bio-Microbics, comes standard in two-stage HDPE plastic or reinforced concrete septic tanks. ETV-EPA verified and NSF/ANSI Standard 40/245 certified, the nitrogen removal technology achieves top level performance in total nitrogen reduction, while maintaining effluent Nitrate-N levels consistently below 10 mg/L and achieving more than 98 percent BOD and TSS removal. 

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