The simple answer is yes. You can use a garbage disposal if your home has its own septic tank, but you should consider the following information to ensure you don’t accidentally cause a sewage backup.
Use Your Garbage Disposal Sparingly
The more you use your garbage disposal, the more solid waste builds up in your septic tank. Functioning septic tanks separate waste solids and liquids while flushing out wastewater into the drain field. Solids sink to the bottom of the tank, while liquids float to the top.
Over time, solids build up in the tank. Regularly pumping out solids helps keep the septic tank from overflowing. Unfortunately, the food and particle waste you grind up in the garbage disposal ends up as solid waste.
To keep your garbage disposal septic tank from overflowing prematurely, you should be mindful when using the garbage disposal. Consider throwing large pieces of food (dense meat chunks or fat, bones, vegetable peelings, etc.) into the kitchen trash container or compost pile to reduce the amount of solid waste that ends up in your septic tank.
Use your disposal to grind up small pieces of food or to dispose of thin liquids like sauces, gravies, and soups, as these items decompose easily and produce less solid waste.
Be Careful About What Goes Into Your Garbage Disposal
When using your disposal, take care to remove utensils, small toys, jewelry, and other hard materials from the sink to prevent these items from clogging your drain, sewer pipe, and septic tank.
Metal objects and other items made from hard materials can also damage your garbage disposal. Avoid grinding up sticky substances like gum, glue, and soft rubber items. Sticky substances trap food waste, which can lead to sewer pipe clogs.
You should also avoid flushing cooking oil, fats, and other slick liquids down your garbage disposal as these liquids can trap food waste and cause the garbage disposal septic tank to malfunction.
If you notice a lingering odor, frequent clogs, or your kitchen sink drains more slowly than usual, call a plumber as you may have a clog.
Should I Use Enzymes or Chemicals to Help Break Down Solid Waste?
Newer garbage disposal systems recommend the use of enzymes and chemicals that supposedly help break down the solid waste in your septic tank.
Unfortunately, some of these enzymes and chemicals interfere with the natural bacteria in your tank and slow the breaking down of solid waste rather than helping to speed up the process.
In most cases, you can help the bacteria in your tank by limiting septic garbage disposal usage, making sure you don’t accidentally grind up hard metals and other objects, and by scheduling routine septic tank maintenance.
How Often to Schedule Septic Tank Pumping?
As a rule, most septic tanks require pumping every three to five years. This depends on the tank size and average water usage. If you run your garbage disposal regularly, you may need to schedule a tank pumping more often.
The Original Plumber can tell you how often to have your septic tank pumped if you use a garbage disposal. We understand that you may prefer to grind up all of your food waste using a septic garbage disposal.
We can provide tips and guidance in maintaining your disposal and recommend the appropriate times to schedule a septic tank pumping.
Call The Original Plumber for Regular Septic Tank Maintenance
We proudly serve Metro Atlanta and surrounding areas. We routinely perform septic tank inspections, repairs, and maintenance for our customers to help prevent costly backups.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you maintain a functioning septic system. We’re open 7 days a week. We also provide emergency services.