A garbage disposal septic system is essential for keeping the quantity of household waste under control. Many homes face challenges in getting rid of their waste. Primary waste disposal means ensuring that your domestic environment is free of the kind of waste that can lead to health problems. While not always advisable, it is possible to use a garbage disposal with a septic system. However, caution must be exercised. Dumping too much waste or the wrong kind of it in the septic system can quickly lead to an undesirable scenario where the septic system can no longer support the amount of waste deposited into it.

What is a Septic System?

A septic system is an underground structure typically used in rural areas without a sewer system. It helps to deal with liquid and semi-solid household waste. A typical septic system consists of a tank that is constructed into the ground with inlets from the various areas of the house that produce waste. These include the kitchen and the bathroom. All the waste collected is separated into different layers consisting of solids, liquids, and things like scum. Inside such a septic tank, microbes chemically break down the waste matter into tiny particles. The breakdown ensures that waste products do not build to unacceptable levels inside the tank.

A similar but often-confused term is a biodigester septic tank. This is also a waste management structure, it is unlike a regular septic tank in that energy can be produced from it in the form of biogas. The production of biogas is the result of bacterial action, specifically those that don’t need oxygen to thrive (anaerobic bacteria). These bacteria act on the waste material in the septic tank, gradually altering them chemically until methane gas (biogas) is produced. The crucial difference between a biodigester septic tank and a regular one is that the latter is strictly a waste management structure.

Is Solid Food Good for Septic Tanks?

While a septic tank is constructed to house and manage waste, it doesn’t mean that any kind of waste should be introduced into it. While it can process certain amounts of solid waste, such waste can quickly make it inefficient. The principle of bacterial solid breakdown in a septic tank relies on the fact that the bacterial population is far greater than the waste available, pound for pound. Constantly depositing solid waste into a septic tank alters this critical dynamic, meaning that bacteria will not be able to break down the solid waste as fast as it is being deposited in the tank. This will mean you’ll need to empty your septic tank more regularly. A septic tank of average use can last up to three years before the need for emptying arises. Constantly depositing solid waste in one reduces this timeframe significantly. Needless to say, it will cost more in terms of getting the professionals that empty such tanks.

A septic tank should never have trash deposited into it. Things like paper, clothes, and other household trash should never go into a septic tank. Instead, it should only be reserved for biodegradable waste like food refuse, peels, and other such things.

Garbage disposal and a septic tank can be integrated to achieve an optimized waste management system. However, garbage should only be allowed into the septic system sparingly. This ensures that the septic tank continues to function well for a long time.

Making a Septic Tank More Efficient

Given that a septic tank handles mainly wastewater, it makes sense to ensure that this is the main kind of waste deposited into it. This is a good, long-term strategy, ensuring that your septic tank lasts for decades.

Septic tank additive treatments are a great way to promote longevity. A good example of such an additive treatment is when extra bacteria are added to a septic tank. This means solid waste will be consumed at a much higher rate. Ironically, too much bacteria can lead to decreased solid waste breakdown if not handled correctly. An unusually high bacterial load inside a septic tank can create the kind of unhealthy competition for solid waste that will ultimately lead to a septic tank working at less-than-optimal levels.

Other additive treatments to make a septic tank more efficient include adding enzymes. These biological substances help to speed up chemical reactions significantly. They help to hasten the breakdown of materials like toilet paper, meat, and other organic products. Enzymes also help to control the quantities of scum that collect in the septic tank. Scum includes oily substances like fats and grease. By facilitating the flow of scum downstream, enzymes control their build-up.

Other measures to promote septic tank efficiency include avoiding the disposal of trash into the toilet. This puts undue stress on a septic system, reducing its longevity.

Causes of Septic Tank Malfunction

In addition to overzealous garbage disposal, several things can lead to your septic tank malfunctioning. These include:

I) Improper Installation: Good, old-fashioned incompetence or ineptitude during your septic tank installation can lead to serious problems. Proper installation begins with a percolation test which ensures that an area of land is fit to house a septic tank. In addition to the sanitary problems improper septic tank installations can cause, prosecution of the property owner is also a possibility.

ii) Lack of Proper Maintenance: Similar to improper installation, failure to carry out regular maintenance procedures can also lead to septic tank malfunction. Regular emptying is one of the basic maintenance procedures. Depending on the tank, you may need to empty it once every two years or every two months. For biodigester types, the emptying duration could be longer. Additionally, it’s good practice to get a technician to inspect it yearly just to ensure everything is okay.

iii) Damage: This could come in the form of stray tree roots that burrow their way to the tank and compromise its wall structure. Sometimes, the work done on electric poles and underground wiring could inadvertently lead to septic tank damage. 

All in all, a regular garbage disposal can be integrated with a septic tank as long as the disposal is kept at a minimum to avoid clogging up the septic tank.

By Manali