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Are Garbage Disposals OK With Septic Systems?

Are Garbage Disposals OK With Septic Systems?

Running septic systems involves a finely-tuned process, and there are some things that you can do that will upset that process which will result in problems.  Often, these problems mean money will need to be paid out to get your septic system running smoothly again. One question that often comes up regards garbage disposals and whether or not it’s OK to use them with a septic system.  Most garbage disposal manufacturers are quick to tell you that yes, you can use their product with your septic system, but ignore the ugly truth that can be hiding behind that answer.  Learn more about the truth of garbage disposals and your septic system by reading on.

Is It OK or Not OK to Use a Garbage Disposal?

It is not OK.  You really shouldn’t be using a garbage disposal with your septic system.  The way that the septic system is set up involves a large tank filled with water and the waste from your home.  The solid waste settles to the bottom where bacteria go to work breaking it down.  Then, there is the water waste layer that has the excess liquid going out to the drain field.  Finally, at the top, there is a layer of scum that has built up.

There are certain things you can to do that will help prevent your septic system from having problems – such as not flushing wipes.  The same is true with your garbage disposal in that you shouldn’t use one.  All the fats, grease, and other waste from the disposal are being added to the septic tank which can cause it to have problems.

What Happens?

When you use a garbage disposal for your septic system, you are overloading the waste that is being put into the tank.  This excess waste will never get a chance to break down in the wet environment.  The thing that garbage disposal manufacturers don’t tell you is that you have to pump your tank at least twice as often if you use their product.  Is it really worth the possibility of problems? These are problems that may lead to you having to have your septic system dug up. If we had to guess, that is probably not a chance you should take. However, the good news is that there is an alternative to using a garbage disposal for food waste.

Garbage Disposal Alternative

A great alternative to a garbage disposal is creating compost or vermicompost.  Composting is an easy way to turn your food waste into a productive material that will help your garden and landscape.  Many gardeners feel that their compost is the best fertilizer around. There are easy composting systems out there on the market that you can fill it up, give a few spins, and you’re good to go.  Another selling point to composting is that you can also compost paper, leaves, and grass clippings along with your food waste.

Your septic system will work effectively and efficiently as long as it is treated right.  Adding a garbage disposal to the mix makes it have to work harder. Having to pump more often can cost you extra money in the long run. You may also need to have your tank dug up for repairs.  Skip the garbage disposal option and create a compost bin that is eco-friendly.  Your septic system and wallet will thank you for your decision.

Contact us today if you have additional questions about garbage disposals and your septic system.


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  • Megan Earl
    August 5, 2016, 10:08 am REPLY

    It’s definitely good to know that you shouldn’t be using a garbage disposal with a septic system! My husband and I are looking for a new house, and if we get one with a septic system, we definitely want to know how to take care of it. Do you think it would be possible to use a disposal with a septic system if you cleaned the system very often?

  • Tyler Meredith
    September 14, 2016, 5:54 pm REPLY

    It’s interesting that you need to pump the tank about twice as often if you use a garbage disposal. I didn’t realize that using a disposal could cause there to be so much more maintenance on the plumbing system. I’ll have to look into getting a different type of tank that could handle it, or to have somebody come out and pump it more regularly. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kody
    September 15, 2016, 5:50 pm REPLY

    I had no clue the food waste I sent down my drain would have no chance to break down. I use my garbage disposal a lot. I guess I will need to get it all pumped out. My wife has noticed a smell coming from the kitchen sink.

  • Ryan
    September 16, 2016, 12:49 pm REPLY

    Yikes.. Definitely sounds like using a garbage disposal with your septic tank is more trouble than it’s worth.

  • Jack Mulligan
    September 16, 2016, 1:14 pm REPLY

    I’ve always used a garbage disposal, and I didn’t know it could be a bad thing. I’m usually pretty responsible with it, but I know my kids put things in there that they shouldn’t. I think it would be wonderful to start a compost pile that helps instead of hurts.

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