Drain-Cleaning Bacteria

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.

``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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