Over the course of June we received a number of questions and follow ups from readers asking about the performance of our Vortex home sewage treatment plant after we had it emptied last year. Since we’re approaching the one year mark of introducing Muck Munchers to our home sewage system, it’s a good time to share our experience using the product and to update everyone on the overall condition of our tank.
We have been religious about flushing the Muck Munchers sachets on a monthly basis, ensuring that we use a different toilet every time. Since emptying our home sewage treatment plant and adding Muck Munchers, we’ve also greatly limited the amount of antibacterial products making their way down the drain. We also continue to use Ecover products for our laundry and washing up, Oxygen eco bleach for the toilets, and dishwashing tablets from Smol.
We are very pleased to report that our tank is as clean as the day we emptied it. There is no sludge layer, and the tank smells earthy and clean. I believe that the combination of washing products, limited FOG (fats, oils and grease) and Muck Munchers have all been working in tandem, keeping our system healthy and clean.
Having said that, we did have two incidents during the winter where the crust started to build up in the final settlement chamber. We found that the best fix for this is to add water directly to the sludge compartment using a hose and use a long stick to mix it (making it runnier) so that it can get recycled via the daily sludge return cycle. If the crust is thin and dry, this will only take about five minutes to do.
If the crust in your Vortex dries out or hardens and is unable to get processed by the sludge return, your sludge layer will start to build up extremely quickly, so by ‘watering’ it down, it can get reprocessed by the system. The longer you leave it, the more work you’ll have to do. I check ours fortnightly just to make sure that everything is looking good.
If there is a sludge build up as described above, I try to do this work close to the date when we need to add the next Muck Munchers sachet – so when the sludge has been returned to the aeration chamber and the sludge compartment is runny water, I flush a sachet so that the positive bacteria can get to work. This has been a great solution that has worked for us, and has meant that our tank remains in excellent condition.
The other thing to look out for as part of the fortnightly checks is to see that the vibro filter is clear. We never flush solids, but we share the tank with neighbours and they have on occasion flushed things they shouldn’t have. We fish these out and ask them to refrain from flushing them again.
Apart from checking the vibro filter for unwanted items, we check that the bubbles resemble those of boiling water, and we also ensure that the bubbles in the aeration chamber are vigorous.
We received messages from followers that have seen regular crust build up in their tanks despite saying that they are following good practices like not allowing fats and oils into the tanks and using eco washing up products. One unseen reason that bacteria can get killed off in tanks is medication. If some residents of a household are on long-term medication, antibiotics or are having chemotherapy treatment, these can have an adverse effect on your tank leading to accelerated sludge build up.
In closing, my suggestion to users with a Vortex system is to check the tank on a fortnightly basis. If the sludge starts to build, use my tip for watering it down so that it can be reprocessed by the sludge return cycle, and consider using Muck Munchers to support the beneficial bacteria in your system. Our tank has remained in great health in light of this approach.