FAQ

FAQ

Eco Septic Tank Treatment

  • Why is my septic tank smelling bad?
  • You may think the smell indicates that the tank is full and needs emptying. This could very well be the case if you are a household of between 4-6 people and it’s been 12 months since your tank was last emptied, however there could be a number of other reasons why you are experiencing this issue which would be worth investigating before you conclude the former: 
 1. The drain field may have failed or tanks may be leaking sewage (in which case you would need a repair specialist)
 2. One of the manholes may not be completely covered or a concrete lid may be broken, or, if a plastic lid, the seal on the lid may be leaking
 3. The aeration tank may not be receiving the appropriate amount of air, which can be caused by a stopped-up air system, broken air lines, clogged air filter or improperly operating air compressor or aerator
 4. Overuse of water, such as washing a lot of laundry in one day 5. Septic odours are being trapped near the ground by high air pressure, especially on a very hot, windless day, or
 7. One of your neighbours has a septic problem and the septic odour is coming from their tank/drain field In any case, it’s always advisable to obtain quotes from professional companies should you feel there’s a problem. If you are unsure how to begin, just put ‘septic tank emptiers’ plus your town into the search engine to get a list of local companies to you, then ask for a couple of quotes to get the best price.

  • How much will it cost to have my septic tank emptied?
  • The cost depends on the size of your tank and your location. You will need to contact a registered septic tank emptying company in your area to obtain a quotation.

  • How often do I need to have my septic tank emptied?
  • How often your septic tank needs emptying will depend on the size of your tank and the number of people living in your household. With 1-2 people, once every 3 years, 3-5 people, every 2 years, whilst 6 or more household members every 12 months is the usual,

  • Who should I contact to empty my septic tank?
  • By law you are required to have your tank emptied by a fully licensed operator who is registered with the Environment Agency to carry septic tank waste

  • I have a biorock system that has settlement tank which smells. , If I used your Ecoseptic treatment would this cure the problem?
  • Without knowing the full extent of the problem we cannot be sure, however as long as the system does not require emptying and there is no underlying more serious problem, eco septic tank shock and maintenance treatments should cure the smell and give you a more efficient tank.

  • my query is the tanks are due to be emptied next week -- do I wait until they fill up, or can I start the treatment with only a small amount of efluent in the tank.
  • Our advice is to wait until the tank is emptied - the shock treatment will provide a kick-start to boost the biomass inside the newly emptied tank. Then follow up with the monthly maintenance treatment.

  • My water treatment system has 3 zones (tanks) - the biomater is in Zone 2 and is aerated - if using the shock treatment would I need to put in zone 2 rather than down the toilet as this water goes into zone 1.
  • Yes put the sachets directly into zone 2 if it can be accessed. Dissolve in a bucket and pour in.

  • Hi, I bought 2 products for treating septic tank (from ecohabit) We get problems with odours seeping into the downstairs bath/shower room.Any suggestions on best way of using products?(house is in France we visit 2/3 times a year)
  • I would suggest a relatively intensive treatment whilst you are there: daily dosing instead of weekly, and dosing the product in a relatively large volume of water (at least a bucketful) of a thin ‘soup’ down the plugholes of the room where the problem is. This may solve the problem quickly if it is drain related, or it may take two or three visits for the odour to be noticeably different if we need to get the septic tank gets into better shape. On the other hand it may be a physical plumbing problem as the traps in the waste pipes should prevent odours coming back through from the tank.

  • Hello I have a holiday home with a septic tank. As the system is not used that often and not at all over winter what would you recommend? I was wondering if it should be a combination of the shock treatment and the normal treatment.
  • Septic tanks are intended to work best with relatively low levels of continuous use, therefore a holiday home is a bit of a problem as it means relatively intensive use only two or three times a year. If your tank has a smell problem, we suggest a relatively intensive treatment whilst you are there: daily dosing instead of weekly, dosing the product in a relatively large volume of water (at least a bucketful) of a thin ‘soup’ down the plugholes of the room where you may have the smell. This may solve the problem quickly if it is drain related, or it may take two or three visits for the odour to be noticeably different if we need to get the septic tank into better shape. If there is no problem with the tank, we recommend a daily treatment dosed in the normal way, ie. dissolved and flushed down the loo closest to the tank - eco shock treatment will do this job.

  • Can you please advise on suitable chemicals/cleaners for use in conjunction with a septic tank
  • The point is more this - do not use excessive amounts of household cleaners like bleach, laundry detergent, cleansing powder or other chemicals. Your septic tank contains waste-eating bacteria and these cleaners can reduce the amount of bacteria present in the septic tank. The level of bacteria within the tank fluctuates and recovers quickly if small amounts of household cleaners are used. Over time, excessive amounts of these cleaners can destroy all levels of bacteria within the septic tank system.

  • Apart from septic tanks can eco septic tank treatment be used in cesspits, small package 
treatment plants, other domestic sewage treatment systems?
  • Yes cesspits, packaged plants and other domestic biologically based systems will all be assisted by the addition of eco septic tank treatment.

  • Will eco septic tank treatment provide effective treatment during the winter months?
  • All biological processes slow down when it is colder, but eco septic tank treatment contains microbes that are happy at low temperatures so it will continue to have a beneficial effect in the winter. If it is an in-ground system the temperature actually doesn’t change that much winter to summer, a bit like a cave!

  • I have been keeping the water level below the outlet (The above Klargester Tank enquiry) to the filter bed by pumping out every few days. Obviously the filter bed does get wet when it rains, but I am keeping the Klargester water away from it for now. Is this the right thing to do and should I continue to do this whilst treating the filter bed with eco septic tank treatment as per your recommendations.
  • We like the idea of adding eco septic tank treatment directly to the top of the bed rather than trying to draw it in from the tanks. We would suggest that after adding the product to the top of the bed, the tank could then be pumped out so that liquid flows back into the tank and so that the microbes will be drawn into the filter bed so that they can do their work. Yes, we did mean that after mixing the product with warm water in a bucket, not all of it will dissolve in the water and, therefore only the dissolved product should be added to the filter, putting the remainder of the un-dissolved product directly into the centre chamber. Finally, yes it is a good idea to keep the flow through the bed to a minimum whilst the microbes do their work, say 3-5 days, and so they do not get washed away. After that it would be helpful to have a high flow of (as clean as possible) water to wash out any loosened debris.

  • The problem I have is that the stone filled filter bed that is fed from my Klargester Septic Tank is not now filtering the discharged water efficiently and, under adverse conditions, the Septic tank can slightly overflow and make the ground wet around it. I have removed the manhole cover and pumped out the water surrounding the centre chamber of the Tank thus causing the ball valve to drop down inside the centre chamber and showing me that the chamber is nowhere near full and does not require emptying. It would appear that the filter bed is probably partly blocked by sediment from the discharging water and my question is whether giving the Tank your Septic Tank shock treatment followed by subsequent monthly treatment would help the situation? Incidentally, the water that I pumped out had only a slight smell, so it would appear that the Klargester unit is working as it should.
  • It may be what has happened with your system is that solids have partially blocked the stone filled filter bed: either excess solids have been going across into the filter bed when the operation of the tank has not been 100%, or a small amount of solids has been going across all the time and the problem has simply built up over a few years. The bacteria in eco septic tank treatment should be able to degrade some of these solids and improve the flow. It is difficult to say how much to add from a scientific point of view because we don’t have details of the tank or bed size. Unfortunately we do not know the details of the set up of your Klargester system, nor do I think Ecohabit could be expected to know every system that is out there in detail. We want to get the dose of microbes as directly into the filter bed as we can, rather than putting it down the toilet and/or into the main bulk of the tank where it will get diluted before entering the bed. The best area may be the area ‘surrounding the centre chamber’ that you describe or there might be another way of putting the product directly into the outlet from the tank/inlet to the filter i.e. even closer to the filter bed and the problem. Try soaking the product in a bucket of warm water for an hour or so, and then it should have settled enough to decant the liquid portion into the system, or if not, pour the solution through some old tights or similar to avoid dosing too much of the insoluble carrier. The solids/carrier from the bottom of the bucket can then go into the main tank via a toilet of directly in whilst the cover is off. A couple of treatments like this a two weeks apart should improve matters, and it might be worth devising a program of dosing every couple of months to stop the issue coming back. If it doesn’t work, it may be that the blockage is so severe that the microbes cannot solve it and other solutions, involving digging out the bed, are needed!

Blocked soakaway

  • My septic tank has a blocked soakaway - the area around the tank is very squelchy, most unpleasant. Do you have anything that might do the trick?
  • Dissolve a sachet from the shock treatment in a watering can filled with water and water directly on to the soakaway once a week. This should solve your problem.

Eco Pond Treatment

  • I read some where that ponds with UV lights in the filter system can not use bacterial treatments because the light kills them. Is this right?
  • Yes the theory is that the UV will kill the bugs, but in practice this is not so or sunlight would have killed off all the bugs in the world. Yes some will have been killed but most of them will have worked their way into the sludge and muck in the bottom of the pond and will be working away down there. If you are concerned about the reduced effectiveness of Eco Pond Treatment, I suggest increasing the dosing by 10 to 15% to allow for the UV light.

  • I have a static pond containing plants. I have administered the initial dosing programme, but after 10 days the pond is still cloudy.
  • Having discussed your static pond with our team, the outcome is that yes, it could take several weeks for a pond with no aeration to clear as the microbes work much more slowly in low oxygen environments. Also there may be loads of sludge in the bottom of the pond and the plants will be taking up a lot of the dissolved oxygen too via their roots. Ideally with any pond some sort of aeration will always help even a little water fall or fountain. If this is not desirable or practical, you could try a small aquarium aeration stone.

  • I am 3 weeks into using your ecopond but am still having a problem with constant gassing which started prior to use. I realise this problem may not be cured by your product but could you advise me what is the cause of this and how to overcome it. The pond is approx 7ft x 4ft with an average depth of approx 2ft. It has the usual oxygenating plants which I try to keep to within one third of the pond area and two tubs with irises in. My last goldfish just died whether as a result of this gassing I am not sure. I have tested the water for nitrates and oxygen and these appear OK. The surface gets covered in small gas bubbles which I assume must be generated by some of the plant life unless some other foreign matter has accumulated in the pond which I cannot see.
  • Our scientist thinks the problem lies within the silt at the bottom of the pond, too much organic matter which may have become anaerobic and h3S and or methane gas is probably what you are seeing bubbling up. This would certainly kill any fish introduced into the pond. Our scientist suggests that you investigate the sludge at the bottom of the pond and dig it out. If and when you do you will soon know if it’s h3S as they will get a rotten egg type of smell.

  • What is algae?
  • We've all seen those slimy green scums on ponds, lakes, or pools. They're called algae. And they stubbornly occur in water - the one place in a landscape that shouldn't look green. But what are algae? Where did they come from? What kind of damage can they do? And are they really that bad? The problem of algae is hard to escape - algae are everywhere. More than 30,000 varieties have been discovered, and scientists have found that algae have been around for at least two billion years. They occur in virtually every habitat on earth, as long as water and sunlight are found there, even if the water is present for a very short time. They can survive severe environments, from icy mountain glaciers to boiling hot springs to excessively salty water. However, for the purposes of this article, we will limit ourselves to algae that grow in ponds, lakes, and streams. So what are algae? You'll notice that we've been using the plural form to talk about them - one alga is microscopic; masses of hundreds of millions of alga are called algae. It's these masses that we see when we look at a lake, and it's these masses that are the real enemy. Algae are traditionally considered to be simple, primitive plants, some made of only one or two cells. Most make their own food materials through photosynthesis using sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide - just like any other plant. While they also contain chlorophyll and produce oxygen, all lack the leaves, roots, and flowers associated with the more familiar higher plant forms. Algae can float freely in water, coloring it green, or they can coat the sides of a pond with a green or brownish slime. In the ocean, they provide the food base for most marine food chains. Without algae, our waters would not sustain life and mankind would not benefit from its countless qualities and boundless beauty. However, in very high densities (called algal blooms) algae not only discolors water, but can also outcompete or poison other life forms in it. But how did it get to your pond or pool? That can be answered with another question: where did you get your water? All water - even purified drinking water - can have algae in it. Algae can form spores, which are special, microscopic, and very tough cells that can survive just about anything - even the local water purification system. Local water companies will kill nearly all of the algae in water, but some is bound to survive, and it only takes a single spore to birth a huge, visible, mucky colony. Algae can also enter a pond with fish, fish food, or just about anything else you put inside. The most common kind of algae is called planktonic algae. These are the single-celled culprits that create most algal blooms, although they also bedevil pond owners worldwide. They reproduce rapidly, and can be green, brown, or red in color. They can be toxic to animals and can give water an unpleasant taste or odor. Spirogyra are another common type of algae. These algae look like strings or filaments, and are familiar as being the green "hair" on the rocks, sides, or bottom of a pond. There are more than four hundred species of Spirogyra worldwide, adapted to a variety of environments, but are not as likely to "bloom" as planktonic algae. Planktonic algae will bloom in nutrient-rich water. Nutrients can be produced by a few fish, heavy feeding of fish, or even bird traffic. Any of these circumstances can throw off the balance of a pond's ecosystem, and algae will quickly take advantage of that imbalance, growing rapidly and dying back when the nutrients are depleted. Even non-toxic chemicals such as those running off of a farmer's field have been found to cause algal blooms. If non-toxic runoff from a landscape is reaching a pond, or even the rocks surrounding a pond, it might be inviting an algae explosion. This can be a problem even after the algae die back. They can sink to the bottom of a pool or pond and form sludge. A lot of sludge - a couple acre feet of water can easily sustain growth of several tons of algae per season. This will decrease your water volume over time and possibly necessitate dredging. As the dead algae decompose, the decomposition may cause oxygen depletion in the deeper waters. This can result in fish kills, or even chemical changes in the mud on the bottom, which could release chemicals or toxic gases. Some species of algae even produce neurotoxins, which, if present in a high enough concentration of water, can cause serious health problems in humans if that water is ingested. Naturally, those are extreme instances. But smaller amounts of algae are not without their own hazards. For one, algae aren't aesthetically pleasing. They can make a pristine pond look like a cloudy, stagnant bowl of pea soup. They can also make rocks or hard surfaces extremely slippery, especially a problem around pools. They can clog screens, filters, or pipelines, plug irrigation or pumping equipment, and stain and rot wood. They can also lessen water flow and trap unsightly debris. In small amounts in natural environments, algae are an important part of the ecosystem, providing an essential link in the food chain. However, in recreational or aesthetic water features, they can be a serious problem that needs to be dealt with aggressively. By Denne Goldstein and Rebecca Peterson Source: Irrigation and Green Magazine, July 2006, www.igin.com

  • What causes algae and other pond problems?
  • Algae, excessive aquatic plants, cloudy or murky water, odors and even lethargic fish are all problems that pond owners face, but what causes these problems? Simply stated, ponds with such problems have an ecosystem that is out of balance. This unequal balance is generally caused by too many available nutrients in the water and low oxygen content. Nutrients come from a variety of organic matter that is commonly found in ponds like dead leaves, grass clippings, fish food, fish and animal waste, dead algae and aquatic plants, fertilizer run-off and all sorts of other organic materials. The organic waste releases nutrients that are used by aquatic plants like algae, hydrilla, duckweed and other aquatic nuisance plants to grow and thrive. When excessive levels of nutrients are present these plants can grow fast and quickly take over a pond. Normally a pond with a sufficient dissolved oxygen level will be able to break down and decompose the organic matter before it can be utilized by pond plants, however, ponds with lower oxygen levels will be slower to react and the organic matter will build. Eventually a situation will occur in which the break down of the waste will put a such a strain on the ponds oxygen level that the marine life, like fish, will become negatively impacted, due to the lack of dissolved oxygen available to them. In extreme cases there can be such low oxygen levels that fish kills occur. In addition to the dead organic materials creating a strain on the oxygen levels, excessive outbreak of algae can have the same effect. Normally a small amount of algae is ok because pond plants like algae do release oxygen back into the water. It is when algae outbreaks get severe, that they too affect the pond's oxygen level. During daylight hours, algae consume carbon dioxide from the water and release oxygen, but when night falls, this process is reversed and the algae begin utilizing the ponds oxygen to survive. So when there is a large algae population, oxygen levels can be significantly reduced in the over night hours leading to increased algae growth during the day. Another byproduct of the cycle of poor organic material breakdown is the increased presence of odors. Material that is slow to breakdown can become anaerobic and emit pungent and noxious gases like ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. Again, under normal conditions where a pond has a healthy oxygen level, the matter is digested aerobically and no odor is produced, but when there is not enough oxygen to do the job, anaerobic microbes begin digesting the waste, creating the odors. Aeration, often times can be a successful remedy for many pond problems. An increased in available dissolved oxygen can reverese many of the problems above. Aerobic bacteria that are both naturally present and those that are added are stimulated by additional oxygen and become more aggressive at decomposing and removing organic muck and sludge which can accumulate in the bottom of ponds creating an unhealthy and malodorous environment. Aeration will also help circulate and mix water which helps to eliminate stratification and also create and environment unfavorable to algae. Efficient aeration can also help prevent fish kills when and uncontrollable event happens such as a sudden algae bloom die-off or an influx of waste from a heavy rain that can normally strain an un-aerated pond. Make no mistake, a harmonious balance between nutrients and oxygen is not the end-all be-all solution to all pond problems. Certainly there are diseases and other ailments that are started by other reasons, but having a healthy, stable pond environment goes a long way in preventing pond problems.

  • How to prepare your Pond for winter
  • With autumn slipping into winter the pond enters a state of suspended animation as the water cools and the metabolism of fish and plant life slows right down. At this time of year, a few last jobs remain to be done to prepare the pond for the colder months ahead and to ensure that its inhabitants will over-winter successfully and have the best possible chance of a good start when things warm up again the following spring. Plant Protection Now is a good time for a final clean up, to remove any leaves which may have found their way under the net cover, or any dead plant foliage which was missed during autumn pruning. Leaving excess organic matter in the pond over the winter can harm the water quality, which is why some pond-keepers recommend using this opportunity to do a partial water change and remove some of the sludge from the base of the pond. This material is made up of a mixture of decaying plant matter, fish waste and other material which has sunk to the bottom and its gradual decomposition will add significant quantities of nitrates to the water, over time. By the onset of winter, any frost-sensitive pond and bog plants should already have been protected or removed as appropriate and hardy water lilies lowered into the deeper reaches of the pond, the non-hardy varieties being covered and stored somewhere cool, but frost-free. It is also the time to transplant lilies, if desired – cutting off the leaves and stalks to leave the buds and shortening the rhizomes by around a third. Fish Factors Having been winding down the feeding of fish and moving to a low protein diet as autumn progressed, once the water temperature reaches 10–12 degrees C, a good quality wheatgerm-based food – available in stick or pellet form – should be used until winter finally grips. At around 7 degrees C, fish naturally stop eating and drift into a state of semi-hibernation.At this time, the fish tend to retreat to the deeper portions of the pond, where during winter, the water is warmer – and the deeper the pond, the more noticeable this temperature effect. To avoid disturbing the warm layer that they are languishing in, it is a good idea to take steps to reduce the pond re-circulation which will tend to mix in colder surface water. Some pond-keepers choose to switch off their pumps, often removing them for routine maintenance, while others favour decreasing their flow rate and relocating them away from the deeper reaches. Related on Pond Expert... Spring Pond Maintenance Autumn Pond Maintenance Managing Plant Overgrowth Within Your Pond Dealing With Silt in Your Pond Aerating Your Pond Pond Water Quality In the same way as the fish slow down for winter, at around 10 degrees C and below, the biological activity in the filter is also much reduced – so switching off the pump is not quite so drastic a step as it might seem. However, before doing so, it is as well to check the manufacturer’s instructions, since some kinds of pumps must be removed and re-greased if they are not to be run for any length of time. With no real need of filtration throughout the winter, this is an ideal chance to disconnect and drain the bio-filter, strip it down and clean it thoroughly, storing it – along with the pond’s UV clarifier – in a safe, dry place until it is needed again. In bad winters, ponds in some areas of the country may be prone to be iced over for prolonged periods. This is not ideal for any fish they contain, since an enveloping cover of ice stops the natural exchange of gases at the surface, trapping carbon dioxide and others in, while keeping oxygen out. There are various solutions, from small electric heaters to floating something on the surface, the idea being that its gentle movement breaks up the ice as it forms, stopping a complete layer forming. Opinions vary as to whether a bobbing football really works – but the plastic ducks some pond-keepers use certainly make the pond look cheery! A final point to consider is adding a net over the pond if it does not already have one – at this time of year to keep out cats or herons rather than leaves. In their semi-torpor and made more conspicuous by the lack of vegetation in the pond, fish make easy targets for passing predators, so it can sometimes be a good idea to give them a bit of added protection. Winter in the pond is something of a dead time, when plants, fish and other creatures have done their growing and breeding for one year and now must simply survive the cold to start all over again in the next. While this enforced dormancy may offer little spectacle to captivate the water-gardener, it is never-the-less an essential part of the cycle and with a little bit of care and attention as the days draw in, we can be sure that the pond and its inhabitants are up to the challenge. Source: www.pondexpert.co.uk

  • eco pond treatment is working but now I have a problem with duckweed! Help!
  • Maintaining the natural balance of the water in your pond and keeping algae at bay may well bring other problems such as duckweed. If there are no shade producing plants to prevent growth, then it will become prolific in no time. If it does, nothing beats actually getting your waders on and getting in there to physically remove it. It's a weed, so weed it out. After you have removed it, plant water lilies for example, effective shade for the water and beautiful at the same time.

  • eco pond treatment is not working - what am I doing wrong?
  • Have you examined the green stuff closely? Duckweed is a plant with really tiny leaves and can easily be mistaken for algae. If you discover it is in fact duckweed, the best way to remove it is to get in there and remove it with your hands. If the green stuff is in fact algae and the problem is not too severe, although eco pond treatment is sold as a preventative treatment rather than a cure, try upping the dose - it is completely natural, therefore harmless to wildlife and plants.

Preparing your pond for Spring

  • Eco pond treatment - I have already used this product over a week in March however I am about to start again as the weather has warmed up. I have two pumps in operation one internal and one external. Is it best these are switched off during the tratment or do they remain on?
  • No need to turn the pumps off, however the product should be dosed on a regular basis - as per the instructions - in order for the treatment to work effectively throughout Spring and Summer.

  • How do I prepare my pond for Spring?
  • During the cold winter months the water in your pond will have been at its natural clearest. Fish eat little (if anything) in winter, and they are sluggish and quiet. So unless you are digging around in the pond, there's nothing that's likely to stir up silt and soil from the bottom of the pool. Because it isn't sunny and hot, the conditions for algae are also at their worst. Nevertheless, during the winter months, water quality can deteriorate if leaves and other organic debris is allowed to accumulate and rot in the water. What also happens is that nutrient levels rise in the water. You won't see these nutrients, but as soon as everything bursts back into life in early spring, they will help to fuel the growth of early algae bloom. If decomposing matter is left in the pond, this will reduce the oxygen content in the water and your koi and goldfish will ultimately suffer. As spring approaches, the water in your pond will slowly begin to warm. A good rule of thumb is to wait until it is about 10 degrees C before you do a thorough clean. This is also a good time to test the pond water to make sure the pH to ensure the water is slightly alkaline. Also check for unwanted nitrates and ammonia, as well as much needed oxygen. This is also the time to check your pump and filter and to replace any parts that are not working 100%. Even if everything is working well, clean the outside of the pump and make sure that all strainers and filter mechanisms are cleared of any muck that might have accumulated in them. If there is any sludge or residue in the filter, as soon as you start up the pump again it's going to pollute your pond water. If you are using a UV clarifier (UVC), you should replace the bulb. Even if it is still working, the bulb should be replaced annually, and early spring is a good time to do it. Of course spring is also the time to start feeding your fish again. You can do this when the temperature is constantly around 8 to 10 degrees C. But remember they have been in hibernation and you will need to start with small quantities of low-protein food. While koi (and goldfish for that matter) won't usually eat more than they need, any excess food in the water will negate all your efforts to get it clean and healthy for summer.