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A common misconception is that aerobic wastewater treatment systems are often smelly and while they can be stinky, they certainly shouldn’t be!

If your aerobic system is giving off eye-watering fumes, something has gone wrong with your system and will need to be fixed. While aerobic systems and anaerobic systems function in very different ways, one thing they have in common is that if it smells, something has malfunctioned and will need fixing ASAP.

Most often if your septic system has begun to give off a stink, a lack of oxygen is often your problem. Aerobic systems use oxygen produced by septic aerators to make the system a livable environment for aerobic bacteria. These bacteria consume and break down the solids and waste in the tank. If your septic aerator stops working and the bacteria no longer have access to oxygen, they will begin to die. Within two weeks, your bacteria will have died off almost entirely and your wastewater will no longer be getting probably treated. It will then be purged onto your lawn by the sprinkler system as raw sewage, as opposed to chlorine-treated, clear water.

If you suspect that your septic aerator has kicked the bucket, you’ll want to get a professional in ASAP to look it over and rebuild or replace it and keep those bacteria healthy and happy. Your maintenance company will check the septic aerator and other components to make sure everything is working as required. If the system has been down for a little bit, you will need to take it easy on using the system so that the bacteria have time to replenish. It can take several days for the bacteria to regrow and for the odor to dissipate, so don’t panic if the problem isn’t solved immediately.

If your septic aerator is still in tiptop condition and your septic system is smelly, you could also have an electric failure. Your system needs electricity to run the aerator and it needs to be on 24/7. If you lose power, your bacteria will start to die.

Like any septic system, your aerobic system requires maintenance to make sure the components and septic aerator are running correctly and that no repairs need to be made. Skipping annual maintenance can mean that your system will run into preventable issues that will then cost you a pretty penny.


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