garbage disposal for septic - worth the $$ ?

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Greetings, wise ones. I need to put in a new garbage disposal (downstairs scene last night: "hey, why is the carpet squishy? and look at that, the ceiling is all brownish and puffy"), and am thinking about the ones for septic tanks that add a bit of digestive goo every time you hit the switch.
Question: Do these make a difference? Seems like it would help. I know, some folks will say "don't use garbage disposals with septic" but everyone in this neck o' the woods is on septic, most use disposals, no troubles. We put most of the garbage into the trash can, but it's convenient to be able to handle some cheesey bits in the sink. And our septic tank gets pumped out every other year.
Cheers!
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As for me, I wouldn't use one with my septic system. It's not the tank itself that degrades, it's the drain field. Every little particle that suspends in the liquid helps to clog the drain field. Pumping a tank is cheap. Replacing the drain field is a royal pain in the ass. I wouldn't; but YMMV.
Joe F.
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Our home is 12 years old with a septic. We use a disposal with no problems. (never been pumped either)
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Has it been checked to see if it needs it? Once your drain field is plugged it gets expensive, I've heard.
Bob
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That's gonna cost you in about 8 years. Maybe 13 years if you are lucky.
Septic tanks are designed to be pumped. They hold solids and the liquid drains off to the leech fields. When the tank becomes full, solids begin flowing in to the fields (which are generally very large). When those plug up after many years of neglect, you will begin noticing the backups. After you pump the tank, you'll have backups again as soon as you fill the tank with liquid because the fields are still plugged with solid waste (which doesn't get removed when you pump the tank). This may only take a couple of months to happen again. The cost to repair this would be at least $5,000. If you're in a lucky state that enforces all the new EPA laws, you'll end up replacing the whole deal and that will run you over $10,000.
So, would you rather spend $150 a year to pump the tank or $10,000 after you ruin the system? $150 x 20 years = $3000. Seems like a nobrainer, but it's your tank and your money.
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|
|> Greetings, wise ones. I need to put in a new garbage disposal |> (downstairs scene last night: "hey, why is the carpet squishy? and |> look at that, the ceiling is all brownish and puffy"), and am thinking |> about the ones for septic tanks that add a bit of digestive goo every |> time you hit the switch.|> |> Question: Do these make a difference? Seems like it would help. I |> know, some folks will say "don't use garbage disposals with septic" |> but everyone in this neck o' the woods is on septic, most use |> disposals, no troubles. We put most of the garbage into the trash |> can, but it's convenient to be able to handle some cheesey bits in the |> sink. And our septic tank gets pumped out every other year.|> |> Cheers! If you ever replace it, go withy a 3-stage aerobic. We are very happy with ours. And our lawn stays green all summer :) Rex in Fort Worth
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On Tue, 03 Feb 2004 15:53:00 GMT, dont snipped-for-privacy@no.spam wrote:

If you pump your tank every other year, go nuts with a regular disposal. You can put any solids in a septic tank and it won't harm it one bit. As long as you perform regular pumpings as you are.
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said...

Routinely using a disposal will put fats in suspension in your drain water more so than if you don't use one. This will eventually cause problems with your drain field. If you live in a town like I do where they make you over-engineer the hell out of the system (cost me over $30k for a 4 bedroom system) you probably won't have a problem, but if the system is already 10 years old I wouldn't push it.
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Ahhh, a popular myth. Fats will float, they won't remain in suspension.

A 1500 gallon tank for a house of 4 people is recommended to be pumped every 18-24 months as this is how long it will take to fill the tank with solids. If you use a disposer every day, you may want to stay closer to the 18 months.
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dont snipped-for-privacy@no.spam wrote in message

Hi,
ISE has a septic disposer... http://www.insinkerator.com/disposer.html
A copy...
**Only Septic Disposer features injection technology with Bio-Charge treatment.
No competitive brand can claim enhanced digestion because only Septic Disposer injects Bio-Charge into the grind chamber every time the disposer is activated. Bio-Charge is a fresh, citrus-scented solution featuring natural microorganisms that help break down food waste.**
jeff. Appliance Repair Aid http://www.applianceaid.com /
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Thanks for everyone's input! Wife definitely wants to keep a garbage disposer, so this a.m. I made pilgrimage to Big Orange Box and bought the In-Sink-Erator Septic model that squirts extra bacteria and surfactant goo on each grinding run. Like I said, we mainly put food waste into the trash (you can tell because when I go to the dump every couple of weeks no one wants to take the ride with me!), so it's really minimal use and this model is overkill I'm sure. We'll probably only use one bottle of goo/year, and that's only $12. Most excellent cost/effectiveness ratio for continued marital bliss. And maybe good return if we sell the house to a Green Party member!
The development we're in is 35 years old, the only septic field that has failed is one of the houses on a small lake, so I think it may have been poorly designed in regards to the groundwater mound, etc.
And, just for the sake of not letting the discussion die, I'll bet that most septic drainage fields that that go belly-up were installed in soils with close-to-minimum perc rates.
Dr. M
p.s. sorry if the new return address confuses anybody or their newsreader.
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wrote:

Just don't make the mistake of thinking you can go longer between pumpings because of this type of disposer....
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Thansk, Point Noted! We get a reminder every other year from the town and from the sludge-pumper. And it's a great spectator event for the kids.
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wrote:

As long as the wind is blowing in the right direction!
I make it a point to get mine pumped just after the ground thaws but before we have all the windows open in the house. I made the mistake of pumping on a nice summer day.....once !
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Last one, I swear! The new disposer is in, no leaks, smells sweet, grinds like a demon, a total piece of cake. Turns out the old one, a TrueValue brand, was really an In-Sink-Erator clone. Easier than changing spark plugs.
Price Comparison Note: the bottle of bacteria goo is $10.45 including shipping, straight from InSinkErator. The Big Orange Box charges $12.95 each, and I have to drive there. Ya just never know.
Dr. M
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You are pumping way too often. Change it to once every 4 years, but also check the health of the system annually at least. When you open the system, gather everyone around and give a class to your housemates and let them know what NOT to put in the drains. A healthy septic system is a thing of pride.
PJ
On Tue, 03 Feb 2004 15:53:00 GMT, dont snipped-for-privacy@no.spam wrote:

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said...

The pride is getting to look at your massive pile of shit that you've accumulated. My son (3 yrs) is always proud when he can bust out a big one. 2000 gallons of shit is an impressive load.
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I agree with your son. I'm old and gray so one of my most proud moments is when I stand up and admire what I've just accomplished.
As for the tank, I'm most proud when I see that moving mass of bubbles and foam above thin liquid indicating obvious activity of billions of microbes doing their duty. PJ
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For 1500 gallons in a family of 4, 18-24 months is recommended. I 100% guarantee that 4 year intervals is resulting in solids making their way to the fields.

To be quite honest, whatever fits down the drainpipe can go in the septic tank. There is nothing you can't put in there for one simple reason. The system is designed to be pumped. It is not designed to hold anything beyond its physical capacity of the solids.
Too many people still have the old headset from the days of cesspools (and there are still lots of them around). Now THOSE were designed to NOT be pumped. The ideas of bacteria and biodegrading that others are speaking of does apply here. A cesspool is nothing more than a big hole in the ground. The solids need to break down and drain in to the earth. There are no secondary fields for liquids to drain off in to - it all goes in to the earth from the same place. Garbage disposers on a cesspool is a big no-no.

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Mark, you are wrong again.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/science/wonderquest/2001-09-19-septic-tanks.htm
Check this site out. It verifies what I said. It also says that once every 19 years is fine for a single person household, 4 years for a 4 person household, etc, but recommends 3 to 5 years.
That brings up something that needs mentioning. You can measure how much sludge is in the bottom by using a stick. There is a chance you could go 8 to 10 years without problems if measure the sludge depth when you check it..
PJ

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