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Parts of the Aerobic Tank

diagram showing the inside of a NuWater aerobic system tank

Understanding How Your Aerobic Tank Works

Even if you’ve used a septic system for years, upgrading to an aerobic system will be a bit of an adjustment. These systems work differently, which means the parts of the tank will be distinct. While you can trust Cyclone Septics for installation and maintenance, you’ll be better off understanding each part for yourself.

To start, you’ll want to consider the conditions of the installation. If your system was installed as a replacement to a conventional septic system, then your original tank may have been used as a trash tank. This can extend the time between pumpings and the life of your components.

Keep reading to learn more about each part and how it works. If you still have questions, Cyclone Septics is here to help!

The Parts of Your Aerobic Septic Tank

To start, let’s go over some basic terms associated with your system.  The first compartment of the tank is the trash tank. In this tank, the solids separate and sink to the bottom while the fats, oils, and greases float to the top.

This compartment contains anaerobic bacteria that break down the wastewater solids by about 33% and produce the familiar foul odor of sewage. This tank acts similarly to traditional septic tank. From this compartment, the liquid waste flows into the secondary treatment process known as the aeration compartment or ATU.

The ATU relies on an extended aeration-activated sludge process. In other words, air is introduced to the wastewater from the solids compartment to promote the growth of aerobic organisms. These organisms break down the organic solids by about 66% and produce inorganic and stable organic solids.

This process is called aeration, and it provides dissolved oxygen to the bacteria. Over time, this will help the organic solids break down. In the aeration chamber, the wastewater is milk chocolate in color. As the wastewater leaves the aeration chamber, it enters a quiet zone where no mixing occurs. The quiet zone is referred to as a clarifier.

In the clarifier, the solids separate from the liquid again and settle to the bottom of the clarifier. This is called sludge. This sludge contains dissolved oxygen, and this oxygen activates the bacteria it contains.

This activated sludge is returned to the aeration chamber to be re-mixed. The sludge mixes with the incoming wastewater, and this mixture of sludge and wastewater is referred to as mixing liquor. This mixing liquor flows back into the clarifier, and the solids separate and return again to the aeration chamber.

The water that separates from the solids in the clarifier flows out of the wastewater treatment plant into the pump compartment and is referred to as effluent. The effluent is then chlorinated and sent to discharge. The chlorinated water, which should be around 99% clean, is then discharged through the sprinklers.

Learn More From Our DEQ Certified Staff

It’s okay if you don’t understand every part of your aerobic. That’s why the experts at Cyclone Septics are here to help. With 24 years of combined experience, we know everything about installing, maintaining, and updating your septic system.

Ask us about our warranties! We have DEQ certified installers ready to serve you today. Our team is local, family-owned, and woman-owned. Call now!

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