Should I Use Ultraviolet (UV) Light in My Septic System?

UV Light in water representing septic system using UV Light for disinfectant.

Let’s shine a light on the topic of ultraviolet (UV) light for your septic system.  Today, everyone is looking for environmentally friendly ways to make your septic system cleaner, and more efficient. UV light can be used as a component of septic system treatment to disinfect wastewater. In this blog we are going to talk about the benefits of using UV light in a septic system.

Effective Septic System Disinfection:

The key to operating your septic system at optimal efficiency is to manage the bacteria in your system. UV light at the end of the system effectively kills harmful bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens present in wastewater before it discharges to the environment. It disrupts the DNA of microorganisms, rendering them unable to replicate and causing them to die off.

According to the EPA “Disinfection is considered to be the primary mechanism for the inactivation/destruction of pathogenic organism to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases to downstream users and the environment.” EPA SOURCE

Chemical-Free Treatment for Septic Tanks:

Beakers and flasks with "Bio Out" written on  one side,

Like any of you, we are always looking to reduce the amount of chemicals that we introduce in our homes and to the environment. UV light treatment is a more environmentally sound alternative to harsh chemicals.  

Unlike some other disinfection methods which may involve the use of chemicals like chlorine, UV treatment is chemical-free. This makes it environmentally friendly and eliminates concerns about residual chemicals in the treated water. Win-Win.

Low Operating Costs for Septic Systems:

Well maintained UV systems generally have lower operating costs compared to chemical-based systems. UV lamps have relatively low energy consumption and maintenance requirements. Do not just take our word for it.  The National Library of Medicine (NLM)  reported that

“Among alternatives, UV disinfection is perceived as an eco-friendly disinfectant, with high disinfection efficiency, a broad spectrum of inactivation for most pathogens, short hydraulic detention time and easy operation and management.” (Hijnen et al. 2006; Zhou et al. 2016).

Elimination of Harmful Byproducts:

UV treatment does not produce harmful disinfection byproducts (DBPs) that can be a concern with chlorine-based disinfection. This ensures that the treated water is safe for discharge into the environment.

  • Scum- A substance that are lighter than water, such as grease, fats, and oil, float to the top of the tank and form a layer in your septic tank.
  • Sludge – Sinkable solids, such as bones, soil, grit, and unconsumed food particles, settle to the bottom of the tank and form a layer in your septic tank.
  • Effluent -The wastewater that is clarified after the scum has floated to the top and the sludge has settled to the bottom.

UV Light can help with the breakdown of some of these byproducts producing cleaner water entering our environment.

Benefits of UV Light – A Fast Treatment:

UV disinfection works quickly. For instance, disinfection with UV treatments has a shorter contact time when compared with other methods of disinfectants.  Using a UV treatment the water can be ready for discharge almost immediately after exposure to the UV light (20-30 seconds with low-pressure lamps according to the EPA. Source –U.S. EPA 1986b. Disinfection with ultraviolet light – Design, Construct, and operate for Success. Cincinnati, Ohio). This can be beneficial in situations where rapid treatment is required.

Safe for the Environment:

UV treatment is a sustainable and environmentally friendly method of disinfection. It does not introduce any additional chemicals into the environment and does not produce harmful residues.

Compared to chemical disinfection, UV disinfection:

  • Destroys the ability to replicate for most viruses, spores, and cysts.
  • Eliminates need to transport and store toxic and hazardous chemicals.
  • Leaves no residual environmental effects that can be harmful to human or aquatic life.

How Can Supeck Septic Systems Help You?

As part of our offerings to customers all over Northeast, Ohio, Supeck Septic Services can repair or replace most UV disinfectant lights and UV controls. Overall, we believe that UV light offers an efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly solution for disinfecting wastewater in septic systems, ensuring that your system is environmentally sound for future generations. 

We can help make sure that your septic tank is working to treat your wastewater properly. Contact Us today to learn more about UV Lights for your home or commercial property.