Garbage disposals with septic system...

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Kritchlow, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    6,203
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kritchlow
    I’ve read everything, and talked with numerous, knowledgeable people, yet cannot get a consensus.
    I get everything from DO NOT do it, to don’t worry about it, to yes but be careful what you put in it.

    Which brings up another question...
    Are the disposals that inject enzymes during grinding actually work?
    I’ve read to get a three stage grinder so the food is ground fine, as that will help. Contradictory to that is those disposals I cannot find with a 3-stage grinder, only 2-stage. What’s the better way to go?

    I’m not overly concerned about price, as I’d rather spend an extra couple hundred bucks and save my septic system.

    Thanks
     
  2. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    49,508
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    We decided It wasn’t worth finding out and use those old fashioned screens in the kitchen sink. Some neighbors have them.

    In the end if it’s not hundreds of pounds of stuff, or if you keep up properly on tank pumping it probably doesn’t matter. It’s going to settle in the first tank and quite a bit of it won’t go away, so it’s like any other non biodegradable solid, lowers what the first chamber in your tank will hold.

    But if you’re pumping it regularly/on time, doesn’t matter. That’s kinda the point of pumping.

    Seems like harsh chemicals and excess water (large family washing clothes) causes more problems than food waste.
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  3. old_biker

    old_biker Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2019
    Messages:
    123
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    old_biker
    I heard too much about it being something you should ever do, I have my own septic at both properties and would never consider getting one.

    as for excessive washing, clothes, simple solution, not necessarily legal, but works great, a separate line for washer to dump outside on the ground, not going to the septic.

    before I could find a washer that would fit in my home, I have a door opening too small, try finding one to fit between a 22" door! I kept washer outside on a stack of pallets, & had approx. 30 foot of hose for my drain hose, and tarped it when not in use, but eventually found a washer to fit inside, but only wash once every week or 2, usually 2 loads, & now days we usually rotate which house we do clothes at, so not worried about my water, but if I was, I would install a second drain pipe going outside in blink of an eye.

    my house was owner built, & he put a place for washer & dryer in bathroom, but didn't make door big enough for anything but the stupid portable style to fit. & it would have meant to cut walls to correct door, so I kept looking & found older machines that I was able to use.
     
    denverpilot and Kritchlow like this.
  4. chartbundle

    chartbundle Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    1,150
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    chartbundle
    I grew up with a septic system, I didn't even know people had garbage disposals, on septic again with my current house. Just like others a screen for the sink and into the trash. Or if I wanted to be green, into my green waste bin.
     
    murphey, denverpilot and Kritchlow like this.
  5. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Messages:
    32,011
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Everskyward
    I had a garbage disposal in my kitchen sink (not sure what kind), but I didn't put a large quantity of food scraps down the drain. I never had a problem with it until the pre-buy inspection showed a low spot in the pipe leading from the house to the holding tank. I had to have it corrected before I sold. The guy who redid the pipe said that it had probably been that way since the tank was installed 25 years previous.
     
    Kritchlow and denverpilot like this.
  6. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2019
    Messages:
    104
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    CharlieD3
    I have a disposer single stage, and septic system. $100+- to pump out the septic every few years is chump change in comparison to flies and maggots in the garbage cans outside...
     
    murphey, denverpilot and Kritchlow like this.
  7. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    6,203
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kritchlow
    This is my thought as well.
     
    CharlieD3 likes this.
  8. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2019
    Messages:
    104
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    CharlieD3
    Only caveat is we're empty nesters.. only 2 of us... I might do it every 2 +- years if I had kids at home...
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  9. Busflyer

    Busflyer Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
    Messages:
    301
    Location:
    Mid Tenn
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Busflyer
    We scrape the big stuff off the plates into the garbage, rinse in the sink then into the dishwasher. Garbage disposal has an enzyme bottle attached but about 3 years ago it quit pumping the enzymes when you turned it on. We kept using it and it doesn’t seem to affect it.
    We are a household of 4 and have pumped the tank every 5 years. I also dump a packet of yeast down the toilet every 3 or 4 months.
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  10. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    9,491
    Location:
    Maryland
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Check_my_Six
    Meh....there are six of us here on a septic system. We do have a disposal but, don't use it all that much....like the dish washer (it also puts out debris).

    I don't think the debris from either the disposal or dishwasher is all that bad for the septic. What's worse is the harsh cleaners you dump down the drain. Any kind of "disinfectant" is going to kill your bacteria colony in the tank. That colony is key in eating the solids. A bad colony will force you to have the solids pumped regularly. I pump mine every few years 3-5.....whether it needs it or not. ;)
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  11. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    12,941
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    weilke
    I told them not to put a disposal in when I renovated the house. The concept never made sense to me. Bigger problem than ground up food is heated grease
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  12. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2018
    Messages:
    2,239
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kenny Phillips
    Never had an issue with that, but we never dump grease in the thing.
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  13. CJones

    CJones En-Route

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    4,966
    Location:
    Jawjuh
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    uHaveNoIdea
    We had our septic pumped about 6 months after moving in (previous h.o. said they had it pumped the previous year - one of several fibs we have since discovered). As soon as the guys opened the lid, they said "Did you add a disposal to the house after it was built?" I told them that we didn't add one, but it does look like the one we have was added after original construction. They said that our tank was not sized to account for disposal waste on top of the regular solid waste. I hadn't thought about that, but it makes sense - if you're putting more solids down the drain, you need more room for them to be dissolved before heading out the field lines. The septic guys told us we should remove it, but we've just tried to be conscious about not putting bowls of potato scraps and whatnot down the drain and instead throw them into the garden. No big deal since then.
     
    Kritchlow and Checkout_my_Six like this.
  14. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,818
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brad Z
    Our beach place is on a septic system and we did not put a garbage disposal. Because it's a vacation rental, I didn't want to have to imagine the sorts of things that might make it down the disposal and into my tank.
     
    Kritchlow and Checkout_my_Six like this.
  15. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    8,462
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PaulS
    I won't do it, in fact we have a vacation house that had one when we bought it and we removed it. Septic system replacements can go for up to $50k around here and it's just not worth the risk. The previous owner of the vacation home had never pumped the tank, she said that they figured it wasn't causing any problems, leave it be, dumbass.

    We have trash pickup once a week, no maggots or flies.
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  16. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,818
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brad Z
    Yikes. That's a ticking time bomb.
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  17. timwinters

    timwinters Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    13,042
    Location:
    Conway, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    LTD
    I've been on numerous septic systems and every time I've had a garbage disposal. worst case scenario was three people in the house. Never had a problem. But I've always been of the school that you religiously pump your septic system every two years...three on the very outside.

    This may be a topic that's specific to the geology of the area you live in...and the type of septic system you have, there are numerous different designs depending on perc.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
    Kritchlow likes this.
  18. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    8,462
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PaulS
    Nah, this was 20 years ago, no problems other than 2 pumps. The guy who pumped it that time said it was pretty chuck full of ****, but no solids in the pump chamber, it was getting close though.

    Now I pump it every 3 years (seasonal use).
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  19. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    4,543
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    This. We're on septic and have a regular single-stage garbage disposal. We dump the bulk of the food waste into the garbage and wash the remnants into the sink and use the garbage disposal. Rid-X about once a quarter when I remember about it on time. No problems on a 1965-septic system. I had it pumped about 2 years ago and there were no issues after having run it for 5yrs since buying the house. We don't really even limit the water usage too much, between my wife and I, and the 3yr old's baths. We do have very sandy soil (live close to a river) and the soil/leach field drains quickly so I'm sure that has as much to do with shedding the high water usage as anything.

    My parents are in a 2008-built home with an aerobic system. They also have a regular garbage disposal and have no problem using it for small debris after scraping the big stuff off into the trash (or the dog bowl). The only maintenance they've had to do is adding the occasional bleach to the system, and a couple of pump units which seem to go out about every 5 years on everyone's aerobic system.
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  20. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    2,586
    Location:
    KLAF
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    455 Bravo Uniform
    We have septic and use our disposal sparingly.

    Whatever fiber you eat ends up in the septic anyway through the toilets. A little undigested food through the disposal is logically ok...it’s a biological treatment system.

    We have a filter on the liquid discharge end of the septic to keep the finger system cleaner and that does need to be pulled and hosed off once in a while.
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  21. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    49,508
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    There’s solids going down a beach rental toilet... hahaha... technicolor yawn...

    There’s an image for your Monday.

    Not to mention all the idiots who’ll put other things down a rental toilet that don’t belong in even a city sewer system, let alone a septic system...
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  22. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    11,136
    Location:
    NM or the emergency room...
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    100 bucks....wow, what a deal. 300 for me and that is done in the fall when it is a cooler and nasty job instead of a hot and nasty job...:lol::lol:

    We have screens over the drain, no disposal, and we throw the food and grease away instead of clogging the pipes. No flies, no maggots, just the occasional coyote but the dogs keep them at bay. I might add we put the waste in the plastic shopping bags from the local grocery stores, then into 13 gallon trash bags. Not trace of any smell in the house or outside in the trash.
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  23. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    8,462
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PaulS
    My summer house is in NH, we have a trash service that will open the garage and get the trash. Before that we I had to haul it up a 200 foot driveway. Sometimes several trips in the jeep. I'd do it at night and on the second trip there would be about 5 or 6 trash pandas already in the first hauling things off.

    Twice we had bears haul the cans off. The furthest they carried one was about a mile and half up the road. Much easier now.
     
    Kritchlow and Zeldman like this.
  24. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    10,544
    Location:
    Hoschton, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Let's Fly
    No disposal, we put our wet trash in a gallon zip lock that goes into the weekly trash. Been in our house for 22+ years and pumped twice.
     
    Kritchlow and denverpilot like this.
  25. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    11,136
    Location:
    NM or the emergency room...
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    Isn't it cool to live in bear country.?? They can be so entertaining, and knowing that we are not at the top of the food chain makes ya think when going outside at night.
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  26. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    8,462
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PaulS
    Yes, we have black bears, they are pretty timid, but I'm still careful when I see one.
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  27. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    16,728
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    I have been on septic in two different houses for over 30 years. Both had disposals. It's never been a problem with moderate use. For the longest time our county required a pumping every 5 years. Now it's up to me to inspect the tank from time to time myself.

    There are far worse things you can do (dumping chemicals or having your water softener backwash go in there).
     
    Cluemeister and Kritchlow like this.
  28. ElPaso Pilot

    ElPaso Pilot Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,462
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ElPaso Pilot
    Ha.

    Not septic but disposal related. Co-worker was a big hunter. Had a chest freezer in the garage packed to the gills with meat from a year's worth of hunting trips.

    Left for a two week vacation with the family. While loading up the SUV, someone must have tripped over the cord on the way out and pulled it out of the wall outlet.

    Returns to warm rancid meat odor filling the garage. Cries over spoilt meat. Goes to work heartbroken.

    Shows up at the office the next day very upset. Turns out wifey had tried to help out and spent the whole day running the freezer full of meat down the disposal to make it go away before he got back home.

    Said meat and fat congealed in the chilly underground line through his front yard to the main sewer at the street and plugged it solid. Over the next several days, plumber gave up trying to rotor it out. Had to call a contractor in to dig up and replace the line from the main sewer to the kitchen.

    Seems like a trip to a dumpster would have been a little easier on all. :eek:
     
    Kritchlow and denverpilot like this.
  29. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    4,543
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    Running rancid meat through the garbage disposal (septic or not). jfc. I'd contemplate divorce if my wife did that, lol.
     
    Kritchlow, denverpilot and Cooter like this.
  30. ElPaso Pilot

    ElPaso Pilot Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,462
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ElPaso Pilot
    Running a chest freezer full!

    It was an impressive feat of preservence.

    And yes, I do believe he may have threatened her with divorce.
     
    Kritchlow and SoonerAviator like this.
  31. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    12,522
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains, New York
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Geek On The Hill
    I fling the food scraps into the weeds behind the house. Seriously. Wild critters need to eat, too.

    As for the laundry, I'm told that chlorine bleach is the worst villain, followed by fabric softener. I use OxiClean, which a plumber told me actually helps the septic system. It works better at cleaning the clothes, too; and you don't need softener when you use it.

    Rich
     
    Kritchlow and denverpilot like this.
  32. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    11,136
    Location:
    NM or the emergency room...
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    My moms house has a black water tank and a gray water tank. I am about to tap into the gray water to use it to water the lawn. (when we get a lawn) I don't know why, the property has a well so she doesn't have a water bill.
     
    Kritchlow likes this.
  33. azblackbird

    azblackbird Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2017
    Messages:
    1,439
    Location:
    Colorado Boonies
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    azblackbird
    Pigs.... best garbage disposal ever. ;)
     
    Zeldman and Kritchlow like this.
  34. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    6,203
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kritchlow
    Thank you all for your insights. What I take away, ON THE AVERAGE, is it’s okay but just be careful what you put down it.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful replies.
     
    Cluemeister and denverpilot like this.
  35. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2014
    Messages:
    5,795
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    stewartb
    The problem with disposals is putting grease down the drain. Veggies don't bother me much. I've always had septics and disposals. If the septic is rated for four bedrooms and it's just my wife and I? We can't dispose of enough stuff to matter. If your system is operating at capacity in marginal soils to start? Different issue. Anchorage requires excavation and visual inspection of tanks over 20 years old and mandatory replacement at 30 years when selling a home. I just replaced a tank that looked like a colander. The drain field passed the absorption test easily.
     
  36. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Messages:
    3,949
    Location:
    Danger Zone
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cowman
    We’ve been on septic for years and we have a disposal, dishwasher, all the usual household stuff and there’s never been an issue. I didn’t even know that’s a thing and I’ve been on septic more of my life than not.
     
  37. ElPaso Pilot

    ElPaso Pilot Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,462
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ElPaso Pilot
    If the system is sized for the usage and solids from those appliances, all could be good.

    I have had to replace 2 systems that were overloaded by the previous owners and filled the leach lines with solids and biofilm.

    Septic backups are not fun, nor cheap to fix.