Aerobic Treatment Unit 101: What’s the Difference?

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Aerobic Treatment Unit 101: What’s the Difference?

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While some may believe that all septic systems process wastewater in the exact same way, the reality is that not all septic systems are created equal. As you learn more about septic tanks, you’ll discover that each processes waste a little bit differently. While all systems do use bacteria in a natural breakdown of organic waste, only aerobic treatment units process your wastewater using oxygen. The oxygen that is used breaks down organic matter in your tank more quickly. This quicker breakdown results in cleaner wastewater exiting your septic system.

How it Works:
The most popular aerobic treatment unit process is suspended growth. An aeration chamber in the main compartment forces air to mix with wastewater. The bacteria that treats the wastewater is able to float freely and grow as the solids are broken down. Thus the name suspended growth. Some units are equipped with a second chamber that catches additional solids that are not fully broken down. These solids return to the aeration chamber (via gravity or a pump) and are re-processed.


  • Provides higher treatment levels
  • Reduces the amount of nitrogen that is discharged
  • Extends the life of your drainfield
  • Provides flexibility for drainfield configuration
  • Can be used in places where traditional septic systems are unacceptable


  • More costly than traditional systems
  • Requires electricity for operation
  • Mechanical parts can break down
  • More frequent maintenance requirements

If you are interested in getting more information or installing an aerobic treatment unit at your home, contact the experts at Crews Environmental.