A lot of people with a septic system wonder whether or not it’s okay to have a garbage disposal. The answer really depends on how you use the garbage disposal and whether or not you invest in regular maintenance for your septic system. If you don’t take good care of your septic system then you might find yourself with a septic emergency and searching for a “septic tank pumping service near me” in a pinch. However, if you schedule regular septic tank pumping and maintenance and use a garbage disposal appropriately then you may be able to avoid a septic system emergency.
How a Garbage Disposal Works with a Septic System
When your home is on a septic system, that means all the wastewater that leaves your home travels through the plumbing and is deposited into a septic tank. That septic tank treats liquid waste and releases it out, while solid waste builds up at the bottom. If you also have a garbage disposal in the home, then any solids that don’t break down well will end up adding to the solids building up at the bottom of the septic tank. While some solids may break down over time, most will need to be pumped out every three to five years, depending on the size of the tank and the number of people regularly in the home. If you choose to use a garbage disposal in your home, then you want to make sure you know what is and is not appropriate to put down the drain.
What Not to Put in a Garbage Disposal
A garbage disposal isn’t another version of a garbage can and if you treat it like one then you might end up with a clogged drain lines which would then require a septic system repair. Here are a few things you should never put in the garbage disposal:
- Fibrous foods: Some foods, like celery, onion skins, artichokes, and corn husks, have a fibrous material to them that can tangle up inside the garbage disposal and cause a jam.
- Oil, fat, and grease: These three items should never go down the drains in your home, whether or not you have a garbage disposal! These substances will slowly solidify and can stick to the sides of the drains or pipes, causing buildups and clogs.
- A half-eaten meal: Only put small amounts of food down the garbage disposal at a time. If you typically put whatever is left from your meal down the garbage disposal then you are contributing to solid waste buildup in your septic tank.
- Coffee grounds: This is another food item that can actually clump together and form a more solid-like mass. These grounds can accumulate over time and end up clogging the drain or pipes.
Tips for Using a Garbage Disposal with a Septic System
So, what can you do if you want to use your garbage disposal properly and not overload your septic system? Here are a few tips:
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly. The more you use the garbage disposal, the faster the solid waste will build up in the tank. When there is too much solid waste build-up in the tank and not enough space to treat the wastewater properly, then you may experience slowed drains, clogged pipes, or even sewage backups in the home. Little pieces of food here and there may not seem like a big deal, but over time these will build up and you’ll need a septic tank pumping to remove all that solid waste.
- Schedule more frequent septic tank pumping. If you just can’t live without your garbage disposal, then you may want to consider scheduling your regular septic tank pumping service and maintenance more frequently. A typical sized septic tank with a home of two people may need to be pumped every five years. If you expect to use the garbage disposal multiple times a week, then talk to your septic system specialists about moving up your timeline.
- Consider using a compost pile. If you don’t want to keep adding to the garbage pile and are conscious of your contribution to the landfill, then you could consider a compost pile. Compost piles are a great way to naturally dispose of leftover fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, and eggshells.
Talk to our certified and skilled septic system specialists at Septic Masters, LLC, about a septic tank pumping schedule that is best for your household. We provide full inspections, regular maintenance, and regular septic tank pumping service near you. At Septic Masters, LLC, we also understand that a septic emergency needs to be addressed right away, so we are here to help 24/7, 365 days a year!