How to fix Biolytix

Discussion in 'General chat' started by Spaceout, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. Spaceout

    Spaceout New Member

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    Came across this article, but noticed didn't upload photos.

    Biolytix – how to hopefully solve its problems
    I think there are three problems with the Biolytix system that can be rectified so that the system can continue to be used. Two of these issues are design faults and the other an installation fault.
    The installation fault is that the lids are left typically exposed. Having the plastic dome exposed to sunlight causes the top of the tank to heat up, and this, in turn, will kill all the earthworms and some of the micro-organisms that the system depends on to break down the faeces and other solid organic matter. Earthworms prefer cool temperatures lower than 22°C, and it is clear that the Biolytix tank space can reach temperatures twice this in summer. This problem can be solved by simply burying the lid with soil or mulch, thus keeping the lid and tank cool. Of course, buy more manure worms if you can’t find any when you open the tank up for inspection.

    [​IMG]
    You must ensure that this lid is completely covered with soil or mulch (100-150mm) to prevent overheating of tank space (which would kill earthworms).

    [​IMG]
    The two design faults are a little more difficult to fix. Firstly, I don’t think the air pump is large enough, or at least the distribution pipework, to adequately aerate the tank matrix. To ensure good aeration, a pump that delivers a larger volume (and rate) is required as well as a larger distribution pipework that delivers the air evenly throughout the tank. Find an air blower that generates 50-80 L/minute (typical of most other Aerated Treatment Units - ATU’s).
    Secondly, the use of geotextile in a few layers that separate the compartments of the tank is fouling. When there is little available oxygen (due to the small air volume generated above) and a large rich, nutrient load, the bacteria that survive in these anaerobic conditions will basically form a sludge layer that prevents water from passing through. It essentially seals the geofabric and the tank space above it floods. So you will find when you remove the lid that the pump chamber doesn’t have much water (pump still works) but the top of the tank is full of water. These geotextile layers have to be removed.
    A temporary fix
    There are two ‘quick-fix’ alternatives. Firstly, the cheapest, is to puncture the geotextile and insert a breather tube that extends from the top to the bottom of the tank. This enables air to rise to all three sections of the matrix. Biolytix New Zealand imports these perforated plastic tubes from the USA and can send you one for less than $150 at present.
    We have put 5 of these in with mixed results (some have relieved the flooding problem), but it is still too early to say whether the problem is fixed. What is clear is that by punching a hole in the fabric layers, poorly treated effluent is able to by-pass any filtration and flow down into the pump chamber. You can expect very coarse wastewater, untreated and unsafe, being pumped out. It may even eventually clog the pump and cause it to burn out. Hopefully, the hole around the breather tube will eventually seal again, but for a while expect a few problems with poor effluent quality.
    The second more expensive option is to get the system re-built. This means removing all the bags, getting a waste liquid contractor to pump out all the effluent and then get someone to put in new geotextile and bags. Typical costs are up to $5000. But, the initial design problems still exist and it would only be a matter of time before this fouled as well. It seems that system failure is occurring somewhere around 3 years (sometimes less, sometimes longer) depending on the number of people using, daily loading volumes, products that enter the system and initial quality of effluent.
    [​IMG]
    Hammer the 1.5 m steel pipe through the bags and geotextile until you hit the bottom of the tank. Don’t puncture this!
    [​IMG]
    Breather tube in position alongside pump chamber.
    [​IMG]
    Insert the breather tube, hold in place while you carefully remove the steel outer casing pipe.
    [​IMG]
    Cut a taper on the steel pipe to enable easier cutting action through the geotextile.
    [​IMG]
    The breather tube has small holes to let air out.

    A different way
    If you are going to the trouble of pumping out the effluent and removing the bags and geotextile layers, it may be wise to rebuild the system differently – at least without the geotextile.
    Ideally you need to address the two design faults – that of adequate aeration and the fouling of the geotextile. You still need to have some filtration to ensure only finely treated effluent is pumped to irrigation. One way is to place about 300mm of graded stone (5-10mm gravel or bluemetal) at the bottom as the last filter. The bags and matrix themselves are the biological filters but some effluent could pass through without too much treatment. The stone, while also providing sites for bacteria to biologically treat the effluent, acts mostly as a physical filter.
    Better aeration is accomplished by two changes to the design. Firstly, a larger air pump (blower) and distribution pipework can be installed; and secondly, a slotted tube (e.g. draincoil) can be placed below the stone to enable air to bubble up through the wastewater, through the stone and up into the bag matrix.
    [​IMG]
    Make an interconnecting pipe frame (20mm PVC) as the air distribution system. Carefully calculate and measure the pipes to fit inside the bottom of the tank and around the pump chamber.
    [​IMG]
    Use a fine-toothed saw to cut lines (or a drill for holes) underneath the pipework diffuser.
    [​IMG]
    Remove the lid and all bags and geotextile. As bags are removed, with a rod and hook, use a high pressure hose to wash excess solids back into the tank. This effluent will be removed by the liquid waste contractor.
    [​IMG]
    The frame must be measured and built to fit around the pump chamber. Fit an adaptor on top of the pipe for air entry. The air hose will need to fit on this as well attach to the air blower. 12mm air hose will suffice and a range of adaptors and fittings can be bought to connect everything together.
    [​IMG]
    Add a layer of stone (5-10mm) - just enough to cover the diffuser pipework.
    [​IMG]
    Wind the draincoil around the pump chamber at base of the tank. Cap each end. The draincoil will allow effluent to collect to feed the pump.
    [​IMG]
    Now fill the tank until an overall depth of about 300mm with the stone. You may need to mark the wall so that you know how much to add.
    [​IMG]
    Add the bags. There should be some left over (replaced by the stone). Damaged bags can be disposed of.
    [​IMG]
    An air blower – in this case mounted in a weatherproof metre box (lid removed here).
    [​IMG]
    T piece for air alarm connection.​
    [​IMG]
    Pass smaller air alarm tube (6-8mm) into control box and connect to air switch.
    Again, it is early days, so we can only wait and see if this will satisfactorily work. Obviously, all of this is illegal. Any changes to a design of an aerated treatment unit has to be approved by the state body that is responsible for such approvals. Having said that, there are a lot of systems throughout Australia that are failing and as Biolytix, the company, is no longer in existence, state and local government bodies are probably unable or unsure how they can help.
    Let’s hope commonsense prevails and trials like this are allowed to continue so that some of these problems can be solved and customers can continue using them as they have already paid considerable amounts to get these installed in the first place.
     
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  2. curnow

    curnow New Member

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    GDay Gang,
    I have just joined the forum and being a biolytix owner that is looking at rebuilding our system because of ongoing problems I thought for those that are interested I have a pdf copy of the above article with pictures. I don't know who wrote it so I can't give credit to the rightful auther but I think it would be ok to send it to anyone if they pm me.

    Cheers
    Dennis
     
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  3. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    wow, what a mess...
     
  4. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

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    Yes, Songbird. And here we have just another example of "Unintended Consequences" Something our government over here is really adept at. If we followed ALL the governments recommendations we'd still be in the dark ages.

    PS I forgot. When it comes to farming, we still are.

    Uncle Ben
     
  5. Krisdidge

    Krisdidge New Member

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    Hi Dennis,
    I am new to the forum and can't find how to pm you. I would really like to see the PDF as I am wanting to rebuild my biolytix. Can you please email me at [email protected].
     
  6. Redcom

    Redcom New Member

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    Hi Dennis,
    I would love to get a copy of the pdf with pictures of fixing the Biolytix, looks like it might delay a rebuild of my system.
    thanks
    Trevor.
     
  7. Riley

    Riley New Member

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    PDF Diagram

    Hi Dennis,

    I would also like a pdf diagram of the above article. I have moved into our place a year ago, and have had no problems with the system except every time it has heavy rain, the system floods and the worms need replacing??? I am wondering if the plumbing has been carried out correctly.

    The system has been in place several years before we came, and I don't fully understand it, so maybe this diagram etc can help me solve the above problem.

    Also, I live in Queensland, and it cost me around $300 plus worms every inspection. I understand the inspections need to be registered with our local council. Just wondering if I could maintain the system myself.

    Thanks
    Steve
     
  8. Redcom

    Redcom New Member

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    Hi Steve, krisdidge kindly sent me some PDFs.
    You should not have storm water directed to your biolytix. Check by putting hose down one gutter downpipe at a time and see if it flows into bio.

    Also check that overflow grease traps outside the hose don't allow rainwater to get in.
    I just tried to divert washing machine away from bio, but pipes are all in concrete slab. Widely not happy to put hose outside door.
     
  9. greg potter

    greg potter New Member

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    hello all. Always interested in practical thoughts derived from experience on how to nurse the biolytix system along. We had ours installed just over 4 years ago- a couple of weeks before the Queensland business went under. if installed correctly, main issue seems to be the geotextile sludging up as discussed by Spacout. First happened here about 2 years after install- top of tank full of water waste, not draining through filter bags. The plumber advised that a total rebuild would be required, however, he would try a couple of things first: TURN OFF POWER SUPPLY BEFORE BEGINNING firstly, a strong chlorine solution was poured into the pump well, grab the top of the pump and jiggle it round to move the chlorine around the pump and the sump at bottom of tank. My understanding is that if you get the chlorinated water level in sump right by adding water directly to sump via pump well or external inspection pvc pipe, the chlorine will help break down the sludge on geotextile and pump. Leave like this soaking for an hour or so then remove chlorinated water using pump bypass. Secondly, once the sump is empty or has non-chlorinated water in it, increase the pressure in the sump using an air pump directed down the pvc inspection pipe (I use a 2-stroke leaf blower) to force air up through the geotextile and hopefully clear some the sludge. You will see bubbles coming up in top of tank if so. Anyway, to cut a long story short this worked, a re-build was not required. DURING THE CHLORINATING PROCESS DO NOT ALLOW ANY CHLORINATED WATER TO ENTER TOP OF TANK O/W WORMS WILL DIE. Since that time my plumber or myself will dose the system with chlorine as described above maybe 2 or 3 times a year or when necessary- I regularly take the top of pump well to observe any build up of sludge around the base of pump.
    So far so good but with what is an inherently poor design, I'm sure we will run into problems down the track. And can you believe that this system won Australian Design Awards for at least a couple of years- the main reason we purchased it!
    Good luck everyone, Greg
     
  10. alanoooo

    alanoooo New Member

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    Hi all
    We have had our Biolytix 6 years now. For 11 months of the year I love it for the other month I wonder why I need to live with my head in it trying to get it work properly!

    9 months ago we burnt out our 2nd pump, this time because our irrigation became blocked, the pump burnt out, blew the fuse which stopped the alarm working. Anyway a new pump (plus now I have small spare), new worms an overhaul of the irrigation and we are up and running again.

    However recently I have noticed the filter needs cleaning very often, I have increasing turbidity. I am getting a lot of sludge.

    So I have read of 3 solutions. Rebuild, pressure hose and chlorine.

    I am hesitant to use chlorine (cos that is one reason I chose Biolytix to avoid chlorine) but it may be my next best option.

    Greg, can you give me some idea of what you mean by a strong chlorine solution? What sort of quantities so you use?
    Does the chlorine affect the operation of the biolytix?
    Also you mention attaching an air pump to the pvc inspection pipe. I don't have an inspection pipe in my system. Is that something you added yourself or do you have a different model?

    Cheers

    Alan
     
  11. murphybillings

    murphybillings New Member

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    Most people don’t even know that Any foreign material in your Biolytix – be it roots from trees.Let me get this straight to start with – the Biolytix Filter is a great system that if kept in good working order should not give many problems at all.
     
  12. greg potter

    greg potter New Member

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    Hi Alan, taken a while to find my original Biolytix docos. I have a 3000L tank, Biolytix Model BF6, installed in 2010. The inspection pipe (not sure of its official name) was installed with the tank. It is external to the tank, sits vertically and opens into the sump. The top sits just above ground level behind the control box . I use this pipe to add chlorine and air pressure to sump, however, this can be done through pump well. Below is an extract from a plumbing type place in WA (https://www.greywaterreuse.com.au/pictures/BiolytixAirBreatherRetrofit.pdf) that I found googling

    OPTION: Chlorine wash of lower geotextile. DO BEFORE PUNCTURE OF GEOTEXTILE FOR
    BREATHER TUBE. Remove pump, add 5- 10 L conc liquid chlorine, add water to pump well depth 400-
    500 mm and use plunger to mix and push chlorine throughout bottom of chamber – for about 10 mins.
    Pump out sludge and dirty water (vortex pump and line) and then refit system pump etc.

    Not sure what they mean by conc. solution of chlorine. I bought swimming pool granulated chlorine, followed the directions for shock treatment of 10000L pool and scaled this down for a volume of about 450L which is what I estimated was the sump volume of the tank. Note that the WA mob used another pump to extract the chlorine soln. to avoid any going into top of tank. My irrigation system has a valve which allows me to expel the sump contents. If your system returns irrigation field to top of tank then you would have to use the WA method. Adding and expelling chlorine this way has had no apparent ill effects on the operation of the system. It is not permanently in the system like some other systems, and only need to use when you notice slimy gunk around the bottom of pump or try if the tank 'fills up' on top of filter system.
    Cheers, Greg- I live in central Victoria
     
  13. alanoooo

    alanoooo New Member

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    Thanks Greg for the additional info. The attachment was interesting. I have read about inserting anther breather in the tank so it is good to see some pictures.

    I don't have an external breather. Must have a later model.

    I am not keen to use chlorine but I am having to clean my filter every week now so I need to do something.

    Cheers Alan
     
  14. Wdawson

    Wdawson New Member

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    Rebuild biolytix

    Hi Dennis,

    I think I'm going to have to rebuild my Biolytix, think it has finally given up the ghost . I was wondering if you still had that .pdf mentioned above? Any help would be appreciated and if I'm going to do it then I might as well try and fix some of the design issues! Please email it to [email protected]

    thanks,

    Warwick
     
  15. Graham Facer

    Graham Facer New Member

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    I read with interest the issues raised with the Biolytix system, I'm currently staying with our daughter who has no end of trouble with this system. Would it be possible to have a copy of the PDF fix e-mailed to : [email protected].

    Regards.
    Graham Facer.
     
  16. Jasper Whitton

    Jasper Whitton New Member

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    Your Images not loading reupload please
     
  17. Stratty

    Stratty New Member

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    Hi Dennis
    i live in South West WA and would like to rebuild my system as well if you had the PDF document i would appreciate as well please: [email protected]
     
  18. Cynthia Walters

    Cynthia Walters New Member

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    Hi,
    Hi,
    Out biolytix has given up the ghost and was wondering if you still have the pics,. is so could you email them to me.
    Cheers
    Cynthia
     
  19. Cynthia Walters

    Cynthia Walters New Member

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    Hi Stratty,
    Did you receive the Pdf document, if so would you be able to email it to me as our system has given up the ghost.
    Cheers
    Cynthia
     
  20. Cynthia Walters

    Cynthia Walters New Member

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    email address bcagent1952 (at) gmail.com
     
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