Aerobic Septic System: Essential Things to Know

Aerobic Septic System: Essential Things to Know

Aerobic Septic System: Essential Things to Know

To give you an idea about aerobic septic system repair, let’s first discuss the fundamentals. 

Also known as an aerobic treatment system (ATS), an aerobic septic system is a small wastewater treatment technique that digests sewages through an aerobic process. An aerobic septic system is similar to a septic tank system, but instead of the anaerobic procedure, the aerobic septic system utilizes an aerobic approach. These systems are popular in geographical locations where public drains are rare. That means single-family homes or small clusters of houses are the primary beneficiaries of the said approach.

Unlike conventional septic tank systems, aerobic treatment systems yield high-quality secondary sewage that can be cleansed and applied for watering farms. This dramatically reduces the preferred size of the leach site and allows you more adjustability in the location of the leach area.

How does an Aerobic Septic System Work?

An aerobic system applies mechanical components to treat the sewage and drive the treated sewage towards the absorption area. It utilizes aerobic bacteria that need to be pumped air to prevent them from dying. As the name suggests, the aerobic bacteria process organic matters that channel through the septic system using O2 (the aero component of aerobic). Without oxygen and organic matter, these bacteria can’t survive and undertake treatment. On the other hand, an oxygen-consuming environment is entailed for the anaerobic bacteria of the conventional septic tank system. 

Bacteria thrive in mud or puddles in the aerobic septic system. At this point, the diffusion aerator or surface simultaneously provides extra organic waste and oxygen into the system. Bacteria then consumes the sewage outputs, breathe the air, and generate waste products called CO2. 

The following are the processes of an aerobic septic system towards producing high-quality wastewater.


  • Pre-Treatment: This phase involves putting the septic tank in front of the Aerobic Treatment Unit (ATU), or ATI-J can utilize a trash or septic tank as a component of its equipment. This pre-treatment phase removes the sewer water from the solids. 
  • Aeration Chamber: This process involves an air compressor or a blower that causes the integration of wastewater with the air. This step favors the growth of aerobic bacteria to enhance the digestion of solids in the effluent. 
  • Disinfection: The wastewater leaving the aerobic treatment unit will undergo an extra step in this phase. One may apply chlorine or UV light to fulfill this phase. Disinfection processes such as chlorine, bleach, UV light, and others can enhance the wastewater treatment before being directed to the pump tank. 
  • Final Treatment Disposal: ATI-J wastewater is channeled towards the drainage area, a sand filter, an absorption area, or an evapotranspiration bed. 

Components of an Aerobic Treatment System

An aerobic septic system typically comprises a trash tank, an absorption field, an aerobic treatment unit, a disinfection chamber, and a pump tank. Below are the details of these components.

Trash Tank

A trash tank’s approach is similar to a conventional septic system’s general septic tank. After collecting the sewage, the trash tank divides it into three layers: lower mud layer, central liquid sewage layer, and scum layer on top. The wastewater follows a T-shaped pattern as it moves towards an aerobic treatment unit. 

Aerobic Treatment Unit (ATU)

ATU is integrated into an aerobic treatment system that treats wastewater with aerobic bacteria. In this process, the aerobic bacteria can thrive because of the constant supply of an oxygen-rich atmosphere caused by air pumping. The flourishing of aerobic bacteria then removes unwanted pathogens in the wastewater. The pumped air has entailed mechanical parts and electricity to ensure sustainable functioning. 

Disinfection Chamber

The disinfectant chamber becomes the next stage for the wastewater from the aerobic treatment unit. Disinfection materials and processes such as chlorine, bleach, and UV light further treat the wastewater before driving towards the pump tank. 

Pump Tank

The pump tank typically functions with a series of floats to regulate the period at which wastewater has to drain. An alarm will sound to inform you that an inspection is entailed when the sewage level rises. The nozzle in the drainage areas becomes the channel through which the wastewater is generally distributed. 

Why do you need an Aerobic Septic System?

Here are the primary reasons why you should utilize an aerobic septic system in your area:

It requires small space

The septic tank size depends on how many people reside in a building or a house. Therefore, many septic tanks become a bother for properties or homes with small spaces since they take up many spaces. But places with small spaces can benefit from an aerobic septic system because this system does not require large areas. 

Offer higher levels of treatment

Aerobic treatment systems lessen the risk of groundwater pollution and, therefore, ensure cleaner wastewater. Experts recommend setting up an aerobic treatment unit to stop water contamination if your home is in a zone with a high water table. 


The wastewater applied for showering or cleaning can easily be reused or recycled to water the plants and the lawn with a quality aerobic septic unit. The water gets channeled along with the system, is treated, and then reprocessed for various applications. An aerobic septic system is, thus, the best choice if you’re after an environmentally friendly approach. 

Lessens household waste faster

A tremendous aerobic system can degrade and disintegrate solid sewages faster than a similar conventional septic system. With this, you don’t have to worry about sewage in your system collect to an alarming level. That means there is also no need for frequent pumping. In that way, you can save more time and energy, using other more essential functions. 

Appropriate for all kinds of land

The primary upside of the aerobic septic unit is that it can work on all types of terrain, unlike a conventional septic tank that cannot function in high groundwater areas. An aerobic treatment system’s design and manufacturing methods ensure that it can perform well with all kinds of soils and geographical features. 

Save your money

An aerobic septic system treats the optimum composition of the sewage collected in the water tank. As a result, this system does not entail a lot of mechanical maintenances. That can save you a lot of money as you would not need to spend too much on labor and other mechanical costs. 

How to Maintain an Aerobic Septic System

Here are some of the critical steps to consider to ensure the sustainability and functionality of your aerobic septic system in the long run. 

How to access your aerobic septic system to conduct a proper inspection?

If you noticed, system access ports typically lie 10 feet above the floor. Tightening the lids to your access port is, therefore, the best step. You will need to replace them if they discolor or crack. 

It’s also vital to carry attentiveness when unscrewing and opening the lids. To prevent hydrogen sulfide gas produced by the septic tank unit, carefully loosen the lid. Inhaling hydrogen sulfide gas is dangerous to your health. Therefore, ensure that the gas has been removed before inspecting the tank. 

Most systems have warning lights to notify you of issues

Problems or issues are inevitable, especially when you have been using the aerobic septic unit for years. Thus, it’s essential to have some mechanisms that would alert you when such problems arise. Consider having a system that generates an alarming light to notify if such a kind of problem occurs. 

As the unit exhibits a disturbing light, then immediately inspect the unit to address the core issue. Note that it is more efficient and less costly to address the problems while still at a minimum phase. If you keep ignoring warning signs, you might deal with more extensive and more expensive problems in the future. The worst-case scenario is that your entire system might be damaged. 

Add chlorine to your tank

Do you have to hire a technician to do this? No. It’s a super easy step as long as you’re read the instruction manual that comes when you bought your aerobic septic system. The manual cites the dosage and frequency of chlorine to add. Refrain from using pool chlorine that cannot disinfect the sewage but kills your grass and vegetation. After removing the lids from the aerobic septic unit, pour the recommended quantity of septic-friendly chlorine before screwing the lid back to its proper placement. 

Always keep an eye on the spray fields

This step signifies the need to detect minor problems before they get worse immediately. Immediately replace poorly sprayed or damaged heads using suitable septic spray heads. Note that irrigation spray heads are not ideal for the functioning of an aerobic septic unit. Thus, refrain from using sprinklers. 

Foul smell, puddles of water, and sprinklers always on are a regular reminder that it’s high time to contact a technician. These are indicators that there are some issues that you have to address. 

So those are the basic details you need to know about the aerobic septic tank. Consider them carefully, so you’ll know when it’s time for an intensive repair or inspection.