I am going to add information on additives as I can gather it. This seems to be a hot topic and many want to know if it is worth it. My gut is telling me that the answer is that it depends…
Okay, so I have gotten my hands on a 1 lb. package of a “Professional Strength” septic system treatment. The company is still in business but after checking their corporate website and the website that is listed on the container it seems that the product is no longer available. I tried several searches online to see what I could gather but I came up empty. This product is in a plastic container and is from what I gather somewhere in excess of 10 years old.
On the container they list the following contents “Bacteria cultures, enzymes, micronutrients, and inert ingredients.” I can’t say definitively if this product did or did not work and since it is so old I think that it would be unfair to test it.
The bacteria cultures I would assume are of one or more bacteria that are beneficial in the digestion of wastewater. The question I have since the type(s) of bacteria is(are) not listed is “Are these bacteria already available in the septic tank?” If they are already available then there is no need to add them but if they are not already there then why have they not found there way in naturally?
Enzymes work like keys for bacteria to use that make it easier or possible for bacteria to unlock and process some compounds. Without knowing which enzymes are in the container it is hard to tell which bacteria are being helped digest which compounds. If we assume that the contained enzymes assist the same bacteria cultures that are included in the container then they could be helpful.
The micronutrients are assumed to be food or nutrients for the bacteria cultures or the bacteria that are already present in the septic tank? The bacteria cultures that are included in the container are assumed to be there to digest wastewater which is the “food” so maybe these nutrients are included to keep the cultures viable for the term of the shelf life. I am not sure of the purpose of the micronutrients but most likely they are not harmful to the septic system or any of the bacteria that digest wastewater.
So far the ingredients have been soluble in water and as such even if they don’t help the septic system they most likely won’t harm it. However, if the inert ingredients are not soluble in water then most likely they will just site in the septic tank or worse. This package says to add 8 ounces per 500 gallons of tank capacity.
The smallest measurement that I could make was 0.25 ounces so I took 0.25 ounces and added it to about 1 gallon of water. This is close the concentration but not perfect. I mixed it for a while and then looked at it. The water changed color so some of it was soluble but there was also some debris floating on the top and laying on the bottom. This may need more time to dissolve but it appeared to me that it was remaining inert material.
So without all the science behind it, if the material all dissolves then it should be okay. If there is debris left over then maybe it isn’t something that you should add to your septic system. Please keep in mind that you should use a small amount for your test based on the per gallon ratio that is prescribed by the instructions.