Garbage Disposals & Septic Systems

Do you tell people that they should not have a Garbage Disposal if they are on a septic system ?


Yes, I tell them it will require more frequent pumping of the tank. Food waste should be re-cycled for compost/fertilizer.

They now make disposals for septic systems…and have for years. Septic tanks should be pumped out and inspected every four or five years anyhow, not every 20 years like most people do. In my county if a home is selling and it has a septic tank, it has to be pumped and inspected by a licensed septic tank contractor or the Public Health Dept., no exceptions.

I keep my mouth shut about it because I’m not a septic expert. And I disclaim the septic system entirely.

I educate my clients on the things you should not put down the disposal when you have a septic system. Basically as little as possible. The NACHI septic course is good to learn more if you come accross them a lot.

I Agree that you should be recommending a clean out and inspection every 3-5 years according to the size of the home and usage.

Thanks Nick, I found that after I made this post and grabbed some good verbage to use.:wink:


Jim, be sure to put that verbiage in a safe place at proper temp/humidity.

It would suck if you had to throw it down the disposal if it spoiled.

LOL…haha…cute Pete;-)


Good string James we all learned from this thanks … Roy

Personally, as owner of an OSTDS in Fort Pierce, FL, I never let any forms of grease, greasy water, cut pcs of veg’s or anything else go into my system.

Why make the bacteria in the tank work harder than they have to? I have seen tanks that have been treated gently never need a pump out in over 40 yrs.

That is not a rule of thumb. Rather, it is possible under light use conditions.

Car analogy: If you rev your engine at the red light and then stand on it when green will it last as long as if you gently drive away from the stop?

I recommend not using certain toiletry products and that the buyer be cautious about what goes through the disposal during the walk through and then in my report.

In New Hampshire, new septic systems with a garbage disposal require an increase in tank size by 50%

In Maine a filter is required in the tank. This is a big problem because if you use the garbage disposal a lot the filter will need to be cleaned out every 6-8 months and who’s going to do that. I fail many systems in Maine because of back ups at the tank due to clogged filters.

Garbage disposals and septic system are not a good idea. Period!!!

Here are some other helpful tips.

Do not use powdered laundry/dish washing soaps, they have compounds in them that don’t dissolve and can clog a system.

Don’t use paper products with ink in them, helps kill the natural bacteria in the tank.

Don’t backwash water treatment systems into the tank, the salt will kill the natural bacteria in the tank.

Never flush cigarettes or personal hygiene products down the toilet… obvious reasons.

Good info thanks…Roy

This is all great info gang. I really appriciate the input.


Your welcom Roy and Jim