Aerobic System Pumping
Aerobic Treatment Units (ATU) generally require more frequent pumping than do septic tanks of comparable size.
There are 2 reasons:
- The ATU pretreatment tank is very small, and can't hold as much undigestible solids as can a larger septic tank, and
- The ATU process continually creates/grows a sludge that is not created in a septic tank process. This sludge must be periodically removed, in addition to the accumulation of solids discussed in 1. above.
Because no two households are ever the same, the time frames for pumping will vary from property to property. Actual pumping frequency depends on the amount of solids disposed in the sewage and the size of the pretreatment chamber of the ATU. It's best to actually open the tanks, and measure the solids levels periodically, which will give a much more accurate determination of when to pump. (We provide that service with every maintenance agreement and service plan.)
Handling and disposal of the contents removed from septic tanks, referred to as septage, is regulated under State law. Be sure to use only companies that are licensed by the State. As a consumer, it's also a good idea to check when they say they are finished. Unfortunately, many pumping companies do not perform a complete cleaning, even if they say they do. So, protect yourself and verify the tank is indeed completely emptied.
Most ATU manufacturers recommend having a trained and certified technician on hand during pumping to locate and access all chambers, remove equipment that can be damaged, and check the condition of the ATU internal parts after pumping to confirm all is well and no damage was done. When pumping is complete, most ATU manufacturers recommend that the ATU be refilled to operating level and all components turned back on so their operation can be confirmed before leaving the site.
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