Garbage Disposal with a Septic Tank

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My wife and I and 2 (now left the nest) children have lived in this house for 46 years. City water, septic tank and leach field. I had the tank pumped every few years when the kids were at home, now for just the 2 of us, I have it pumped every 5 years. Never had sludge build up anywhere near the outlet level, but we are very careful not to flush anything that we do not believe is biodegradeable, like sand, plastic scraps, etc.
Ny wife is thinking that it is time for us to get a garbage disposal, to avoid having to clean carrot and potato peelings out of the sink, etc. I am a little concerned about the added strain on the septic tank and whether we should proceed with my installing a disposal or not.
All polite opinions warmly welcomed, expecially if you have any first- hand experience.
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On Wed, 7 Dec 2011 19:53:51 -0800 (PST), "hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net"

What's the problem? The stuff from the disposer is just a little less "digested". The tank will do a fine job of it, too.
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given what the costs are to repair or replace a septic system i wouldnt get a disposal.
you might get away with it but say the septic devlops a problem:( you wouldnt want to blame your wife, for perhaps having cost 10, 20, or 30 grand.
a septic tank problem can easily make you upgrade it to current code. that could mean a whole new system
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More reason to leave the Socialists Utopia.
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I already did, dummy.
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Good grief, you're stupid. ...though all lefties are.
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People have them and they can be a feature that appeals to someone who has never lived with a septic system before. So it may make resale easier. OTOH it wouldn't be a factor for me to add a $50 grinder if it was missing. Bottom line is that it will reduce time between pumping and the life of the field. Your call if it's worth it.
http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/pubs/625r00008/html/fs2.htm
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My feelings exactly, for the two of us it would not overload the system organically, but I would probably double the frequency of having the tank pumped of sludge and solids. The reselling point is one my wife who is a Realtor has mentioned more than once, even though we have no plans for selling in the near future.
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wrote:

I've had one for 28 years, replaced it 2 times, used it 5 times. How about if you rely on the strainer in the sink and run the water to rinse the peelings into the strainer. Maybe one of those white plastic strainers is easier to wipe off than a metal strainer. Just a guess.
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On 12/8/2011 9:57 AM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

First time septic owner. After reading up on it, we do have a disposal unit, however, using it only a little. We put waste veggie matter in a covered crock with a plastic bag liner, which resides on the kitchen counter. If a few pieces fall in the the sink, they get ground up and into the septic they go. Periodically, usually once a day, the crock bag is dumped into the compost bin outside the utility room. If there is big veggie waste, like from squeezing citrus, we put them in an old plastic grocery bag and put it in the freezer. Then it goes in with the garbage, ultimately to the landfill. I know, the plastic is not that good in the landfill, however, they are supposed to be making more biodegradable bags now, but I'm not sure. BTW, and a little OT, one of the local grocery chains here in western NC, gives you $ .05 per bag of groceries if you bring old plastic bags or reusable bags.
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On Wed, 7 Dec 2011 19:53:51 -0800 (PST), "hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net"

It can work. I'd use care though. We have a disposal and city sewer, but I still put little down the drain. It is just as easy to put 90% of the waste either in the trash or on a compost pile.
I'd increase the frequency of pumping too. My son had to replace his septic system, but it was never quite determined what the real problem was and if the disposal was a contributing factor. Some was probably neglect by the previous owners over the years.
There are disposals made specific for septic tanks so you may want to check them out.
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I saw those... they're new. The fact that they grind finer (if they do) may be good, may be not. One of the problem with gindings is that can plug your field. Ginding finer could make that happen faster instead of keeping the gindings in the tank where they can decompose.
The "juice" that these grinders insert is a joke and just an attempt to get a regular revenue stream from the owner.
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For 17 years, we have had our septic system (put in when we built the house). We have a garbage disposal, and use it daily. Just a few months ago we had the tank pumped out for the first time. No reason other than we thought it was time. The guy said it looks like everything is working fine - level is right where it should be.
So, based on our experience, there is no problem.
Bob-tx
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hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

Best answer I can think of is, it depends.
It depends upon how much stuff you put down the disposal. If you live on carrot and potato soup you might do better scraping/peeling over an old newspaper and tossing the newspaper.
It depends upon what you put down it. Banana peels, no problem; egg shells, problem. Maybe coffee grounds too?
We have a septic system. We also have a garbage disposal. The latter doesn't get a lot of use. I had the septic tank - 1000 gallon - pumped after seven years; I should have saved my money, made a mental note to *consider* having it pumped again in fifteen years.
I pity the folks spending 10-30K on a septic system. Around here - sand for soil - a gravity system with 1000 gallon concrete tank plus drain field should cost $2500 maxmum and the contractor would be smiling.
--

dadiOH
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Unfortunately, some soils don't support a standard field, so code requires an advanced treatment unit. We have one and they aren't kidding. Three chambers. First one is a standard anerobic tank called the waste tank. It feeds a second chamber with an air compressor bubbler for aerobic action. It feeds a third settling tank, which has a pump that drives a spider pipe system over engineered fill. And yes, it cost about $15K.
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hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

There's really no choice. You MUST humor the wife.
Your choices now are not whether, but how. Specifically, you have to find the best disposal for your situation, re-calibrate how often to pump, and visit what enzymes, chemicals, or small furry animals you need to add to the system to minimize problems.
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wrote:

Actually, you have to humor your local government. Septic regs have tightened a lot in the past few years, disposal units may or may not be outlawed. Real Estate sales people may know what buyers want, but often no little or nothing about building codes. Some areas require them, sale allow them, some prohibit them, you don't want to sell a house that contravenes the code and "could" cause problems for the buyers to blame on you.
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EXT wrote:

You make a good point. Still, when faced with the choices: a) Please the wife, or b) Please the government...
Let me think...
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HeyBub wrote:

What's the difference, they both screw you :)
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dadiOH
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dadiOH wrote:

Some would call you lucky.
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