Garbage Disposal In Septic Systems: Pros & Cons

Is garbage disposal bad for a septic system? Here is all you need to know.

Is your home located in an off-grid location? By off-grid, we’re simply referring to the absence of sewer lines within your area. Such locations are mostly rural with septic systems as the available waste treatment alternative.

Of particular interest to us is Garbage Disposal.

What can you put down the garbage disposal with a septic tank? Let’s find out.

What’s A Garbage Disposer?

If you’re seeing this for the first time, the garbage disposal is simply a practical addition to most kitchens. These are grinders installed in sinks that help grind waste food in the presence of water to help flush it down the drain.

Garbage disposal systems are easy to operate. You only need to turn on the water followed by the garbage disposer which is mostly electric powered. Next, the food waste is gradually added or fed into the disposer.

Having fully, grounded the food waste into tiny bits, the disposer is turned off. Water is allowed to run to flush out the system. This is an effective way to dispose of all sorts of food waste.

Now, where does such waste end up?

Two Schools of Thought

Can you use a garbage disposal with a septic tank?

Well, there are two main schools of thought when it comes to garbage disposal use in septic systems. The first highlights the negative impacts of using a garbage disposal. Unlike the first, the second is backed by research.

In 2019, a study of food waste in a simulated septic tank was carried out by Hongjian Lin et al. This study discovered that septic systems attached to garbage disposal won’t necessarily require frequent pumping.

Let’s further discuss each of these schools of thought as follows.

First School of Thought

While discussing garbage disposal use under this school of thought as well as the other, none of the positions or points stated will be ours.

We present you the information as is to enable or help you decide.

Where Does the Waste Go?

When using a garbage disposal, the waste you blend normally ends up in the system.

Now, there are two main waste treatment systems; sewer and septic systems. Usually, the garbage disposal will be perfect for sewer systems with little to no issues at all. With septic systems, extra caution must be applied.

Whatever you put into your garbage disposer ends up in your septic tank. Now, the health of your septic tank is paramount when it comes to what goes in. You’ll need to be very selective over what goes down your drains.

Ground-up food particles normally end up as solids within your tank.

In other words, they contribute to the solid layer resting at the bottom of your septic tank. Constant use of such grinder will ultimately add up or increase the unnecessary sludge volume.

Be Careful What You Feed Into Your Garbage Disposer

As an onsite wastewater treatment system, a septic system should be well maintained by the user. A greater part of the responsibility for maintenance lies with the homeowner.

Therefore, you should be wary about what gets fed into your garbage disposer.

One of the key things to understand is that your garbage disposer shouldn’t be treated like a trash can. You’re likely to experience issues whenever you dump or dispose of items indiscriminately into your garbage disposer.

The point here is, considerations should be made for your septic tank. There are bacteria present within a septic tank that help in breaking down or digesting bio-degradable contents.

Nevertheless, only the right things such as food waste or leftovers should be placed in your disposer.

Anything else should be disposed of elsewhere (in your waste bin or trashcan). The exclusion of other items like grease and uncooked foods like macaroni and rice will help to keep septic tanks in good condition.

Can One Overuse a Garbage Disposal System?

Overusing a garbage disposal system always brings about issues with septic systems. Septic tanks and inlet drains are the worst hit. When a habit for frequent usage of a garbage disposer is formed, your septic tank suffers for it.

Here, a significant volume of food and other items get into your tank.

These add up over time to take up more space than necessary. The effects are frequent pumping as well as malfunctions due to clogs among others.

Solving this problem is easy! All you need to do is take a look at the cause.

In this case, the cause has to do with what you feed into your disposer. Consider scraping off leftovers into trash cans. These can be disposed of elsewhere without causing issues for your septic system.

You should know that each time you overuse garbage disposal, you’re overworking the system. Digestive bacteria aren’t able to keep up with the frequent deposit of food solids.

  • Minimal Use will Do the Trick

It’s important to sometimes assume that the garbage disposal doesn’t exist. This allows for only the most necessary items to get disposed of using this system.

With minimal use, your septic system can handle organic matter decomposition much better.

Second School Of Thought

This school of thought has a much different perspective on garbage disposal use in septic systems.

As earlier stated, this position is backed by research. It debunks the claims made about food waste upsetting septic system balance.

Unlike what we’ve discussed under the first school of thought, ground food particles that end up in your septic tank will decompose at a much faster rate than other types of waste products.

The reasons given are simple! Most foods consist of about 75 to 90% water.

This means solids aren’t added to the sludge layer. Plus, there’s actually no need for frequent pumping as water levels remain within normal limits.

Which Position Holds?

You get to decide. A study backed by scientific research should normally be preferred over one that isn’t. So far, our aim has been achieved.

We’ve been able to bring up two key perspectives on garbage disposal use in septic systems. It’s possible that further and more conclusive findings will be made about the topic under discussion.

Garbage disposal in septic systems is one area that has drawn lots of attention. We’ve attempted to provide answers by bringing forth varying perspectives.

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