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. 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). 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. Hammer the 1.5 m steel pipe through the bags and geotextile until you hit the bottom of the tank. Don’t puncture this! Breather tube in position alongside pump chamber. Insert the breather tube, hold in place while you carefully remove the steel outer casing pipe. Cut a taper on the steel pipe to enable easier cutting action through the geotextile. 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. 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. Use a fine-toothed saw to cut lines (or a drill for holes) underneath the pipework diffuser. 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. 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. Add a layer of stone (5-10mm) - just enough to cover the diffuser pipework. 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. 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. Add the bags. There should be some left over (replaced by the stone). Damaged bags can be disposed of. An air blower – in this case mounted in a weatherproof metre box (lid removed here). T piece for air alarm connection. 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.