Most people do not think about their septic system and its function when everything is working the way it should be working. There are steps that homeowners can take though that would help ensure that it lasts for years to come. One of the biggest lessons to learn is what can and cannot be put down the drains if you have a septic system. This becomes especially true if you own or are planning to purchase a disposal system to put in your kitchen sink.
Septic systems separate grease, oil, and solids from the effluent (sewer water or wastewater) that comes out of your home on a daily basis. As you might imagine, solid matter will sink to the bottom, while lighter matter (such as the grease, oil, and wastewater) remains on the surface. Everything sits in a holding tank (the septic tank). As the matter sits, bacteria forms – good bacteria – that helps to break down solid matter.
Can I Use A Garbage Disposal With A Septic System?
Food spoilage that comes out of a disposal system, even though ground down into smaller particles, remains solid matter. This, as we mentioned, sinks to the bottom of your septic holding tank. By using the disposal frequently, the amount of solid matter will back up faster than the bacteria can form and begin to aid in breaking down the solids. While it is possible to have a disposal on a septic system, it is not recommended, as the system will require inspections and pumping of the tank as much as twice as often than without a disposal.
Considerations When Adding A Disposal To A Septic System
If you decide you use a disposal with your septic system, you will have to be much more cautious about what you place into the system. You would have to ensure that only food matter makes its way into the disposal. Grease and fats are hard to break down and can harden and clog pipes before they even make it to the septic tank. This could cause septic backup and create a much larger maintenance issue. Also, be leery about disposals that claim to work well with septic systems by introducing enzyme solutions or harsh chemicals to help break down solid matter. There is little proof, to date, that these enzyme solutions and chemicals do indeed work. Adding these chemicals could indeed be harmful to the natural bacteria that form.
If you have questions regarding disposals or your septic system, call the plumbing and septic experts at Dan’s Plumbing and Septic. Call (763) 434-6814 with questions or to make an appointment.