Can You Use a Garbage Disposal with a Septic Tank?

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Last updated August 8th, 2022

The Septic Tank Safe Garbage Disposal Guide

Almost 1/5 of homes in the USA are connected to a septic tank system with rural homes the least likely to be connected to a public sewer system. Many of these homeowners are confused about the conflicting advice on whether garbage disposals are bad for septic tanks and whether you need a special garbage disposal for septic systems.

This article will answer these questions and help you decide whether installing a garbage disposal unit is right for you.

Are Garbage Disposals Safe for Septic Tanks?

The simple answer to “can I have a garbage disposal with a septic tank?” is yes!

However, before you go out and buy a waste disposal unit there are a few things that you need to be aware of.

Fitting the wrong garbage disposal can put a strain on your septic system so make sure you read this page and the waste disposal buying guide before making a purchase.

Waste King L-8000 garbage disposer installed under sink

Many septic tank owners opt to install a waste disposal unit without problems or additional septic tank pumping.

However, it’s good to remember that septic tanks are much more sensitive to what you flush into your waste water and that some food waste items are not suitable and will cause problems.

If you treat your garbage disposal like a bin then you will end up causing problems in the future.

Some food waste will not be broken down by your septic tank and items like rice and pasta will even expand when they enter the system causing blockages.

Garbage Disposals & Septic Tank Bacteria

One of the main arguments of whether garbage disposal units are safe to use with septic tanks is the bacteria problem.

The bacterial culture inside a septic tank is finely balanced and a critical part of your waste water treatment process.

Inside view of septic tank

Overloading a septic tank with too much organic matter can disrupt the delicate bacteria levels causing food waste to accumulate and eventually block the tank, requiring increased pumping and repairs to your septic system.

One way to overcome this is by using special enzyme additives. Usually this requires you to add them directly into the septic tank.

Some garbage disposal manufacturers like InSinkErator have a unique solution to this by injecting the enzymes directly into your septic tank every time food waste passes through the disposal.

The bacterial culture inside your septic tank is finely balanced & a critical part of your waste water treatment.

If you are worried about your waste disposal unit harming the bacteria levels check out our recommended garbage disposals for septic tanks.

What Can You Put Down a Garbage Disposal with a Septic Tank?

Small food scraps that end up in your sink are fine to put through the garbage disposal as they will be broken down efficiently by the grinding chamber.

Once in the septic tank they will be further broken down by your tank’s bacteria.

Food scraps being poured into a garbage disposal

Safe to put down your garbage disposal:

  • Small food scraps
  • Dishwasher outlet

Don’t use your garbage disposal like a trash can. Some types of food won’t break down in your septic tank and will accumulate.

Did you know? Connecting your dishwasher outlet to your garbage disposal is an effective way of ensuring any food scraps that flow from your dishwasher are broken down before entering your septic tank.

What Not to Put in a Garbage Disposal with a Septic Tank

Remember not to use your waste disposal unit like a trash can.

Some types of food waste as well as fats and oils will struggle to break down in your septic tank and will eventually accumulate, causing blockages and requiring more regular pumping.

Photo of dirty cooking oil

Putting too much organic matter into your septic tank will also alter the finely tuned bacteria levels in your tank making it less effective at treating your waste water.

Not safe to put down your garbage disposal:

  • Cooking oils, fat, grease. A septic tank will be unable to break these down effectively causing them to solidify and float to the surface of the tank causing problems.
  • Non-food items. These will not be broken down effectively and will alter your tanks bacteria levels.
  • Fibrous vegetables. Low-end garbage disposals struggle to grind down stringy/fibrous foods like celery causing them to accumulate and block your septic system.

Best Garbage Disposal for Septic Tanks: InSinkErator Evolution Septic Assist

Photo of InSinkErator Evolution Septic Assist

The Safest Disposal for Households with Septic Tanks

The Evolution with Septic Assist has been designed to use safely with a septic system. Its Bio-charge injection system breaks down food particles even further to prevent blockages.

What we like:

  • 3/4 Horsepower – 1725 RPM motor
  • Bio-charge septic assist enzymes
  • Built in the USA
  • 2-stage grind chamber
  • Stainless steel grind chamber & components
  • SoundSeal noise dampening
  • 4-year in-home warranty

What we don’t like:

  • Power cord sold seperately
  • Issues with Bio-Charge bottle coming loose/leaking
  • Bio-Charge injection system not repairable
InSinkErator Evolution Septic Assist
  • GARBAGE DISPOSAL: While all of our disposals are septic friendly, the Evolution Septic Assist garbage disposal adds extra confidence to homes with septic systems. Bio-Charge, an automatic injection of microorganisms, helps break down food waste.
  • QUIET BUT POWERFUL: This innovative food waste disposal features advanced noise reducing SoundSeal Technology, our exclusive, long lasting 3/4 hp Dura-Drive Induction Motor, and 2-Stage Multigrind Technology to handle the toughest food scraps.
  • AMERICA’S #1 DISPOSER BRAND: There are more American-built InSinkErator garbage disposals in US homes than all other brands combined. A full line of models means there’s one right for every need and budget.

Last update on 2024-04-20 at 14:20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Budget Garbage Disposal for Septic Tanks: Waste King Legend L-8000

Waste King Legend L8000 1HP septic tank safe waste disposal

A Powerful Disposal for Septic Systems that’s Great Value for Money

The high-powered Legend L-8000 uses a 1HP motor to efficiently break down food waste particles. The Waste King is a great quality, septic-safe waste disposal & perfect for households on a budget.

What we like:

  • 1 Horsepower – 2800 RPM motor
  • Stainless steel blade
  • 20-year warranty
  • Corrosion resistant grinding chamber
  • Power cord included

What we don’t like:

  • Some report issues with leaking
  • Takes up a lot of space under the sink
Waste King Legend L-8000
  • HIGH-SPEED MOTOR: The 1 HP, 2800 RPM (115v) permanent magnet motor is sound-insulated and jams less. Drain Connection Size: 1 1/2 inches
  • EASY INSTALLATION AND CLEANING: EZ Mount for a quick and easy kitchen sink installation, removable splashguard for easy cleaning
  • 20 YEAR PROTECTION: 20-year Limited

Last update on 2024-04-20 at 14:20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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