• Absorption System Failure -- reason for most calls to septic tank pumping companies

  • Aerobic -- with oxygen, aerated

  • Anaerobic -- without oxygen

  • ATU -- Aerobic Treatment Unit, a type of onsite wastewater treatment system

  • Bio-film -- thin film formed by bacteria

  • Bio-mat, bio-matt, bio-film -- thick film formed by bacteria in absorption field that blocks flow out and causes Absorption Field Failure

  • Bio-remediation --

  • Bio-surfactants -- aid in emulsification of fats and grease

  • Biological oxidation --

  • Cell synthesis --

  • Cellulose -- chemical in wood and paper, difficult for bacteria to digest

  • Chemical cleaning compounds, drain cleaners, sanitizers -- chemicals which can degrade septic system performance by slowing down bacteria metabolism

  • Coliform bacteria

  • Detergents --

  • Digestion -- action by bacteria to break down organic material into water, methane and ammonia

  • Drain field, absorption field, leech field, leach field -- -- area where septic tank outflow is dispersed into the ground

  • Effluent filter -- water leaving the septic tank

  • Emulsify -- mix to create an emulsion

  • Enzymatic breakdown of waste organic matter --

  • Extracellular enzymes --

  • Facultative -- bacteria that can live with and without oxygen

  • Intracellular enzymes --

  • Kinetic rate -- rate at which bacteria are digesting organic material

  • Leach field -- see Drain Field

  • Lignin -- material found in tissue paper, difficult for bacteria to metabolize

  • Medicines -- some adversely affect the action of bacteria in septic tank

  • Reversing biomat formation -- special enzymes may be useful in correcting drain field problems

  • Scum layer -- layer of undigested material floating on surface of septic tank

  • Sludge Judge -- clear tube for determining the health of a septic tank

  • Sludge layer -- layer of undigested material at bottom of septic tank, should be black

  • Soil permeability -- how quickly water can move through soil at a site

  • Tissue -- toilet paper, difficult for bacteria to digest

  • Water softeners -- add lots of salt to wastewater, which can clog pores in clay-ey soils

Information Courtesy of Septic Tank Info