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Can I Use a Garbage Disposal With a Septic Tank?

Can I Use a Garbage Disposal With a Septic Tank?

When your septic tank is in good working order, it’s easy to forget about it. However, there are measures you may take to help preserve your septic system and extend its life on a daily basis. Knowing what you can and cannot put down your pipes is one of them. Because all sewage in your house ultimately enters your septic system, this is essential in any room, but it’s especially important if you have a garbage disposal.

Does a Garbage Disposal Work with a Septic System?

Yes, a garbage disposal with septic is possible. Garbage disposals increase the solids in your septic tank, which can cause blockages. There are certain measures you may take to guarantee that your garbage disposal and sewage system operate well together so that food waste is readily disposed of in your kitchen.

What Does a Garbage Disposal Do?

Garbage disposals are a common fixture in most kitchens. If you have one in your house, it’s probable that you use it to grind food waste after each meal. When you consider their benefits such as:

More convenient than a trash can

Keeps food waste out of landfills

Maintenance is a breeze

Simultaneously, a garbage disposal is a complex machine with a variety of elements, some of which are disadvantages. If you have a garbage disposal or intend to install one in the near future, you should know everything there is to know about it. Some of the disadvantages of a garbage disposal are:

It might smell

Not all food can be put down the disposal

You may have clogs and jams

What is the Purpose of a Septic System?

The purpose of a septic system is to remove waste by filtering it and allowing it to pass into the ground rather than into waterways or other bodies of water. It combines waste with bacteria and breaks it down, releasing liquid effluents into a drainfield before discharging the solid residue. A tank, when utilized in a home, can hold up to 1,000 gallons of water. It also provides several other advantages. Septic tanks:

Are made of a robust material like concrete.

When properly maintained can last up to 30 years.

Provide a less expensive option for shared sewage systems.

Septic systems can potentially be difficult to operate and maintain. Here are a few of their faults:

Every few years you must pump them out.

If not used properly, their efficiency may lower.

Sludge will reduce their overall capacity.

What to Know When You Have a Septic Tank

Of course, homeowners with a septic tank must take certain measures to keep it in good working order. If you want to make your system last, treat it as you would any other piece of equipment — with care and attention. Follow the suggested guidelines and do not deviate from standard procedures.

To begin, you must restrict the amount of solids that enter your toilet. If you dispose of items that don’t belong in your toilet, they might accumulate and affect the capacity of your septic tank. Anything that won’t decompose easily, such as the items listed below, should not be put in your system.

Dental floss


Cat litter


Coffee beans

Paper towels

Baby wipes

Sanitary napkins

Disposable diapers

Cigarette butts

It’s also critical to be cautious when using household cleaners. Your septic tank requires

specific varieties and amounts of bacteria in order to operate, and many disinfectants, bleaches, and cleaning solutions may harm it. You can avoid upsetting this sensitive bacterial environment by using only organic and biodegradable cleaning products.

It’s also critical to avoid a number of liquids, such as gasoline, grease, paint thinners, and motor oil. If you allow these things to enter your sewage system, you’re just asking for trouble. If the damage is too severe, you may need to replace the whole septic system which can be extremely costly.

Septic Tanks and Garbage Disposals. Can I Have Both?

Food clogs drains more slowly than other waste that goes down the sink. Wet a square of toilet paper and wrap it around your hand. It immediately becomes soggy and starts to disintegrate. Now take some fruit or a vegetable and run it under the faucet. It gets cleaner, but it doesn’t go anywhere. A compost bin is a much better place for most foods than the disposal. Great for your garden, or for a neighbor’s garden.

Many people, on the other hand, choose to get a garbage disposal. Depending on how much they use the disposal and what they wash down the drain, some families may require more frequent septic pumping. The most essential thing to know is that garbage disposals are not garbage cans. Simply putting anything into your disposal does not imply it should be discarded there. Problems happen most often because of user error, not because the septic system could not handle the food that was put into the tank.

To keep your garbage disposal running smoothly, here are some simple do’s and don’ts:


When preparing food, use cold water instead of hot. Any grease or oils will solidify in the cold water, allowing them to be chopped.

After washing plates, fill the disposal with a little bit of dish soap and run it for approximately a minute with some cold water.

Run the disposal several times a week. Frequent usage helps prevent corrosion.

Grind bone fragments from tiny poultry or fish (no big animal bones). These give the grinding chamber a scouring action, which will help to clean the walls of the garbage disposal.


The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that no matter what you put down the garbage disposal, it must be biodegradable food.

When disposing of food waste, don’t use hot water. Because oils will liquefy and accumulate somewhere in your disposal or down your drain, causing clogs,

Don’t switch off the motor or water until the grinding is done. Allow at least 15 seconds for the water to run after the grinding is finished.

Grinding fibrous materials, such as corn husks, celery stalks or onion skins, is not recommended. The fibers from these items might get tangled and jam your disposal’s motor.

Don’t fill your disposal with oil, fat, or grease. Even though cold water will assist in solidification, it will cause the blockage of drains and even reduce its grinding ability.

Don’t feed large quantities of food down the drain. Before you put it in, cut it up.

Rice or pasta can expand when put into your disposal. When water gets added to these seemingly small items, they can expand and cause blockages and clogs and help burn out the motor.

Coffee grinds should not be put down the disposal. Grounds will accumulate as time goes on, and clogs can develop.

Glass, plastic, metal, paper or anything that can combust is a huge no-no. Learn from some of out other clients’ mistakes. Don’t do it!

There are a lot of rules to remember, but if you take away just one thing, remember that one of the worst things you can pour down your drain is any type of oil or fat. These just don’t break down properly and will absolutely clog your system over time.

What Can You Put Down a Garbage Disposal With a Septic Tank?

Regardless of whether or not you have a septic tank, it’s worth noting that garbage disposals don’t turn food waste into a smooth liquid. They chop food scraps into tiny pieces, which are often hard. However, if you have a septic tank while utilizing a garbage disposal, you may end up overfilling the solid layer in your septic tank inadvertently.

This issue can be avoided with a little attention. Only utilize your garbage disposal for uneaten or rotten foods such as old tomatoes, bananas, and oranges. Always dispose of foods that might be hazardous to your system in the compost or the trash.

What Not to Put in the Garbage Disposal With a Septic Tank

It’s also essential to exercise caution when using a garbage disposal with a septic system. A brief lapse in attention may not appear to be much, but over time, little errors add up. Your septic tank’s efficiency and capacity will decrease until you require expert assistance.

If your garbage disposal is making a grinding sound or not working, you can always contact Tri-State Plumbing and Septic. Our certified plumbers are well-versed in a wide range of issues and are particularly skilled at resolving any problems with your garbage disposal, septic system, or associated equipment.

Coffee grinds, noodles, rice, and oil are examples of things you should avoid putting in your garbage disposal. Here are a few more to add:

Seafood shells


Fruit pits

Potato peels

Grape skins

Avocado seeds





These items, like oil, grease, and food waste, can cause problems for your garbage disposal regardless of whether you have a septic tank or not. If you’re having trouble remembering the items listed above, make a checklist you can refer to. It will be a backup until you get used to your system.

You should also include things that aren’t safe for your garbage disposal but don’t fit into a certain group. If you want to get rid of medication, for instance, take it to a pharmacy. Medication flushing or placing it down the drain may have an impact on water quality in your area.

Do You Need a Special Garbage Disposal for Septic Systems?

Even the most attentive homeowner will sometimes make errors. You may inadvertently dispose of coffee beans or paper towels if you don’t make a list of all the regulations you must follow and place it beside your sink. Fortunately, a septic assist garbage disposal is available.

What Is a Septic Assist Garbage Disposal?

The septic assist garbage disposal has many of the features of a regular garbage disposal, but it also has a distinctive form that minimizes strain on a septic system. Injection technologies are used with some disposals to feed enzyme-producing microorganisms into the food waste to aid the tank’s bacteria.

However, you must still be cautious when using this sort of garbage disposal. Too much organic debris in your septic system can still cause issues. Even with the advantages of a septic assist garbage disposal, you must exercise caution. You will put your system at risk if you don’t.

What Is the Best Garbage Disposal for Septic Systems?

Despite the fact that they have advantages, septic assist garbage disposals are not absolutely essential. They may protect your tank from harm, but they are not required if you have a septic

system. That said, it is strongly advised to acquire a garbage disposal with a septic-friendly design that can avoid any issues.

Garbage disposals with injection technology are useful for this, but they aren’t the only ones that can safeguard your septic system. A garbage disposal with a powerful grinding action and a high RPM — or revolutions per minute — may reduce food waste to tiny particles and works with a traditional sewage system.

However, it is essential to restrict how much food you grind even if you use enzymes-producing bacteria or a high RPM. These garbage disposal models only reduce risk, not remove it completely.

Read the manufacturer’s instructions while you’re deciding what to do. Every garbage disposal type is different, and your new equipment may have features you aren’t aware of. Read the instruction booklet to learn about all of the features of your garbage disposer so you don’t end up having any problems.

If you already have a garbage disposal and are about to install a new septic tank, let your plumber know. They may increase the size of your tank to accommodate the extra waste you’ll be putting in there. It’s a simple, but essential, measure that just helps your system work correctly.

Garbage Disposal Alternatives

A garbage disposal has advantages, but you don’t need one. You may still utilize a regular trash can or other efficient and simple garbage disposals.

A sink strainer, for example, can catch food waste before it goes down the drain and creates a problem. It’s a simple way to prevent clogs that is relatively inexpensive to implement and maintain. Simply remove any accumulation once or twice daily, clean the strainer every week or so, and scrub it clean.

You may also construct a compost bin with the proper tools and supplies. Even if you don’t have a garden, composting is a good idea because it is an excellent fertilizer for plants or trees around your home. Compost is valuable stuff that can be used to help vegetation grow on your lawn or garden.

The structure of your compost bin may vary significantly. A wire-mesh holding unit, a worm composting bin, or even heap composting if you have the room may be appealing to you depending on your situation. If you follow the correct procedures, any of these choices can give you a constant supply of compost.

Is it possible to use a garbage disposal with a septic system? Yes, but if you don’t feel comfortable with the traditional configuration, there are alternative ways. Whether you get a sink strainer, create a compost bin, or keep your trash can handy, you’ll have no trouble coming up with ideas as you go.

Clogged Drain Solutions

Whether you have a garbage disposal and a septic tank or not, you are not alone if you have frequent issues with your drains. Clogs are common, and homeowners have a number of solutions to address this type of problem. If you have experienced one or more of the indicators on the list below, you likely have a clogged drain in need of service:

Water drains slowly after pooling.

Water backs up out of the drain.

You hear a gurgling noise.

You smell rotting food around the sink area.

Puddles form on the floor next to the sink.

Fortunately, you can often manage a clogged drain without the assistance of a specialist. The issue is not always as serious as it first appears, and you can usually clear the block with the same technique you would use for a clogged toilet. Follow these steps, and you should be able to fix the problem:

Turn on the water and fill the sink about halfway.

If your sink is a double kitchen sink, use a towel or a rag to plug one of the drains.

With a bathroom sink, cover the overflow hole.

Start to plunge the open drain with a cup plunger.

Move the plunger down and up several times, then pull it off.

If you don’t see the desired results, continue to work the plunger until you do. Of course, you can always consult the professionals at Tri-State Plumbing and Septic as well if you find you’re having issues with your plumbing. Even with the strategies above, you may encounter problems, and our licensed plumbers are here to help.

Septic Cleaning Services From Tri-State Plumbing and Septic

Homeowners with septic systems need to look after their tank and schedule maintenance. When they treat their septic system with care, it can last for years. If they neglect this responsibility, they may have to spend a substantial sum of money on costly repairs and replacements.

Fortunately, you can keep your septic system healthy with very little work. Beyond the precautions in the previous sections, you should have a licensed professional pump your tank at periodic intervals. Most experts advise that for a family of four, a 1,000-gallon tank should be pumped about every two to three years.

Unlike a clogged drain — which is a relatively simple DIY project — servicing your septic system will always require a professional. The germs and gases that a tank can release are dangerous, and maintenance requires an informed understanding of the equipment. You need an expert to lend their experience.

In that regard, you can trust Tri-State Plumbing and Septic to pump and maintain your tank. We specialize in septic systems, and if you find yourself in need of cleaning, pumping or maintenance services, we’re here.

If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 864-478-4422. You can also contact us online. Whether you have a clogged drain, difficulties with your septic system or another plumbing-related issue, reach out to start a conversation.

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