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What Are Some Pathogens Commonly Found In Septic Tanks?

by Phil Lawrence

A filthy septic tank might develop a foul odor, but did you know that it can also host dangerous pathogens that affect the health of humans and animals? Regular maintenance helps prevent the growth of pathogens that thrive in the wet, humid interior of a septic tank. You can pump the waste out of a tank on your own, but you may miss some of the debris inside if you don't have the special tools and equipment that a professional possesses. Prevent the common pathogens listed below from flourishing in or around your septic tank by hiring an expert who specializes in septic tank service to maintain your system.

The Hepatitis A Virus

Raw waste from a septic system may contain more than 100 different viruses. Hepatitis A is one of these viruses, and it can cause a host of unpleasant symptoms ranging from mild stomach cramps to serious issues with liver function. This virus remains alive for an extended period of time after it has been displaced into the soil surrounding the septic tank, so it's important to have an expert thoroughly clean and sanitize your septic system on a regular basis. A company that specializes in septic tank cleaning can determine how often you need your system cleaned.

Bacteria That Cause Gastroenteritis

Many different types of bacteria can grow inside of a septic tank. When a person or animal becomes exposed to bacteria, a bacterial infection known as gastroenteritis may develop. Gastroenteritis is often misdiagnosed as the stomach flu because of its symptoms. The large and small intestine become inflamed after exposure to bacteria, such as E. coli or Shigella, resulting in nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps, or vomiting.

A septic tank expert can help remove harmful bacteria from your tank by pumping it or unclogging its pipes. If you share a septic system with a large community, such as an apartment complex or industrial work site, let the specialist know that you are concerned about the risk of contracting a bacterial infection from the septic waste. 

Parasitic Worms

It is not uncommon for parasitic worms to make themselves at home in untreated sewage. These disease-causing worms can live outside of the septic system, which means you can become exposed to them by touching contaminated soil surrounding the tank or pipes. Exposure may cause bloody diarrhea or profuse vomiting, both of which may lead to unwanted weight loss or anemia. A septic tank specialist, like those at Southern Sanitary Systems Inc, can examine the layout of your septic system and help you figure out how to prevent exposure to parasitic worms.

As you now know, a poorly maintained septic system puts you at risk of contracting diseases from numerous pathogens. If you haven't maintained your septic system consistently, 'fess up and schedule a septic tank cleaning ASAP.