Drain-Cleaning Bacteria

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

INSTEAD of using bacteria to clean up ground water, one company is using them to keep dangerous chemicals from going down the drain in the first place. Bio-Care, Inc., in Campbell, Calif., has developed a strain of bacteria that attacks grease, soap, and starches. ``They digest it: The byproduct is carbon dioxide and water,'' says Bud McMahon, Bio-Care's president. Since July, Bio-Care's franchises have been selling the bacteria to restaurants and food processors around the country, says Mr. McMahon. Washing the bacteria down the drain once a week is enough to keep pipes from blocking up. The bacteria are non-pathogenic and approved by the United States Department of Agriculture for use around food.

Other drain cleaners on the market are caustic, says McMahon, ``This is a natural process.''

Now Bio-Care is spreading out to the home market. A new product uses the bacteria to clean septic tanks. Carpet cleaners and pet-stain removers are in the works.

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``We are not only industrialists, but we are environmentalists. We are answering this question of the environmental safety, but we are also accomplishing a mission,'' he says.

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