Conditions for Growth of Beneficial Bacteria
With highly specialized bacteria such as those found in BK Products, it is necessary to match the most effective bacteria to the waste, otherwise the process will become very inefficient. For instance, there may be a culture produced to digest animal fats, but if it is used to digest paper or proteins it will take that culture much longer to do the job and it will not be as efficient.
It is also necessary to avoid conditions that will damage the bacteria. High temperature usually kills bacteria. Most bacteria that do not form spores are destroyed by boiling water and can also be killed by various disinfectants, antiseptics and many chemicals.
Bacteria, Enzymes and Chemicals
Enzymes are the biological catalysts that increase the rate at which waste is degraded. Enzymes are very specific chemicals, and each enzyme usually catalyzes only one particular kind of reaction. Enzymes are the chemicals produced by bacteria – THEY ARE NOT LIVING THEMSELVES.
Bacteria are living things, and are capable of adapting to the environment they are in, just like we are. As a result they can produce many thousands of different enzymes which are capable of dealing with the waste materials present. In addition, by combining the action of a number of different types of bacteria, this broad spectrum activity is increased even further.
A number of companies sell enzyme solutions as “biological” products. These are made by extracting the enzyme from killed bacteria. By their very nature, these products are unable to reproduce and adapt to changing conditions. A liquid enzyme product will only contain at most 3 or 4 different enzymes, whereas a bacteria can produce many thousands.
Also remember that once an enzyme is washed away, it has no means of naturally reproducing – whereas bacteria will grow naturally. Enzymes that are manufactured to digest grease will only liquefy the grease, putting it in a soluble state so that it can carry through the drainage system to some point further down the line (often a leach field, septic tank or waste treatment plant), where the same problems occur again. Pure enzyme products do not solve the problem – they merely pass it further on down the line.
Chemical products for waste treatment are often harsh, and will damage tanks or pipework. They are falling out of favour with Environmental Authorities, and strict controls are placed on their use. Other chemicals are sold to “mask” the odour, through the use of strong perfumes or fragrances. These products do nothing to address the root cause of the problem, and are a stopgap measure at best.