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Garbage Disposals and Private Septic Systems - Weston, Wellesley, MA

06 Jun 2013

We often get asked by homeowners with private septic if they can have a garbage disposal installed. Garbage disposals allow food waste to fit through your sink drain and plumbing pipes instead of throwing it away in the household waste that ultimately goes to a landfill.  Yes, a garbage disposal can be used with a septic system. However, using a garbage disposal frequently may lead to an increased amount of solids and grease in your septic tank. As a result you may be required to pump your septic system more frequently.

Garbage disposals add to the solid waste load in the septic tank. But, can you use garbage disposals with private septic? Yes. Food waste is waste, plain and simple. Food is organic matter and it will enter your septic system either through the sink or through your wasted pipes. The challenge is, with garbage disposals, water is used while the garbage disposal is running which allows more water into your septic system than would enter without the disposal. Also, you might send more food waste down your sink drain than you would otherwise.  However, there are water operated and electric operated garbage disposals.

A septic tank has microbes in the tank that break down the solids into liquids.  A garbage disposal makes disposing food scraps easy, but it can cause additional strain on the septic system. It is generally recommended that the septic tank be pumped out annually if a garbage disposal is used. This compares to every 3-5 years for homes that do not use a garbage disposal. However there are garbage disposals with enzyme injectors for use with private septic systems.

Garbage disposals installed in your home are a convenience, but you need to be cautious of your water use. Know that the added waste and water they add to the septic tank might mean that the septic tank needs to be pumped more often. For more information or for garbage disposal installation, contact Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating.