Copyright © by John Lancaster
Ft. Smith, AR USA
Bio-cultures offer a variety of opportunities for the pumper, many of which are overlooked.
First are [septic tank] additives that enhance the colonies of bacteria which naturally live in sewer lines and septic systems and which help keep the systems operating at peak efficiency. They are useful in cleaning up clogged leach fields and in remedying encrusted build-ups in sewer and drain lines.
Other bio-products include such items as rugs and carpet cleaners, household stain removers, compost accelerators, lawn dethatchers, and oil spot removers. Although not directly related to sewer pumping and line cleaning, these products represent an opportunity for additional sales that spring naturally from each call the pumper makes.
A septic pumper, for example, might notice oil spots on a customer's driveway or garage floor. He could offer the customer a product that eats the oil away, reducing it to CO2 and water and leaving clean concrete instead of a spotty drive.
As an alternative, he might keep a container on hand and treat the spot for the customer as a free service and as a lead-in to selling other products, such as carpet shampoos with bacterial cultures that eat stains from carpet - and remove pet odors.
Since these bacteria eat all dead organic material accumulated in the carpet, they will also attack any food particles or human organic waste (e.g. skin flakes and hair) in the carpet. This also helps control odors.
Additionally, of course, he would sell the customer a supply of line cleaning bacteria [as included in many septic tank additives] to keep the drain lines open.
Lawn de-thatchers and composters are cultures that increase the rate of deterioration of grass, leaves, and other lawn wastes. Enviro Care Corporation (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) provided a sample of a composting powder among other biological products.
Since I maintain a compost heap, I immediately applied a small amount to the pile. Results were noticeable in a matter of days. It's a simple compost pile on open ground, part of which was material from last year's mowing. While some decomposition had occurred, the pile was far from ready for use.
Within a week after applying their product - which includes a mixture of bacteria, enzymes, and fungi (fungi are particularly effective in breaking down lignin in wood products) - the material was composting rapidly.
The market for such products may seem far from the pumper's usual territory, but it is an excellent one. Many homeowners, in both city and country, spend a lot of time improving their lawns or gardening.
The same powder I used for composting can be watered in lightly on the lawn. It eats the thatch that builds up in lawns, converting it to on-the-spot food nutrients, while opening up space for the green grass to fill in, making the lawn rich and thick.
It is important to note that these bacteria live on dead organic material and do not attack live plants or animals. Thus the dead mat in a lawn is digested while green grass (even green weeds, unfortunately) is nourished by having more air and food.
Another application, perhaps more suited to rural customers, is the use of nature's friendly helpers to clean up lagoons and ponds. Industry routinely uses bacterial additives in a variety of liquid processing environments to break down petroleum wastes and a wide range of other products.
If your customer has, for example, stock ponds that are slick with scum and algae, a series of treatments with bio-additives can restore it to relatively clear water within, normally, 60 - 90 days. Yet the same products are safe enough to use in an aquarium.
And don't forget aquarium products. Some companies are now developing special bio-cultures to add to aquariums which will help keep the aquariums free of pollutants and healthy for fish.
By John C. Lancaster, - Editor & Writer
Other sewer and environmental pages by the author:
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Originally published in The Pumper, a publication of Cole Publishing Inc., PO Box 220, Three Lakes WI 54562, tel. 800-257-7222 or 715-546-3346