Septic tanks, garbage disposals, dishwashers.

My son recently purchased the house my wife in which my wife grew up. The house uses a septic system and a leech bed system. If I recall correctly, the septic tank is used by one bathroom and the kitchen sink. The washing machine is connected to a leech bed system different from the septic system. My wife is trying to convinces me that it would be safe for my son to connect a garbage disposal to the kitchen sink as well as to install a dish washer. I have heard that there are now "septic system safe" garbage disposals but am rather skeptic. As to a dishwasher, I have no idea on how that would affect the system except to maybe overtax it. The septic tank was recently emptied when a pipe leading into it from the house was broken. My son plans to have it emptied every 4-5 years. Any helpful comments would be appreciated.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
We had septic with dishwasher ...... no problem. Just maintain the septic as you are supposed too. Garbage disposals are supposed to be a no no and in fact some sewer systems are thinking about outlawing them. Really it depends on how they are used. If you pour grease into it it will be a major problem. We barely use ours..... just some scraps of lettuce too small to bother to put into the garbage can.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Art wrote:

and then go out to the leach field. That coats the sand in the leach field rendering it useless.
Vegetable matter is OK because it just rots in the bottom of the septic system. But we throw vegetable stuff on our compost pile. Turkey carcases and large bones get thrown in the woods and they're gone by morning.
Tissues and other paper products and coffee grounds just disintegrate in the tank and are eventually pumped out. Shit is in this category, too.
I don't know about laundry detergent, however. It seems to form a thick cap on the surface of the septic tank. I don't know if that is bad, if it takes any space away, or helps or hurt the leach field.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Art wrote:

NYC had them banned forever. Until 1999 or so. Phears of overloading the sewer system. I enjoyed my friend's loft where he had - good god! a disposal! How? Well, he was up in a Mass hardware store and bought it. He lived on the edge. Jumping at every door knock that it was the sewage police.
or not.
> Really it

I setup a compost pile outside. I have a large flour can from Blood Bath & Beyond ($4 or so). I empty it twice a week into the pile.
It seals. No flies, no smell.
Smell? None (mix green (veggies and whatnot) and brown (clippings, leaves, etc)( and it just rots.
Rules? No meat/animal products. But I toss them into my trash.
Effort? Pretty freaking low. Dump stuff into it, rinse plate. chicken covered plates? Scraped into the trash can.
The pile? I carry the can out to it, dump it, throw in a handful of leaves. Sometimes I hit it with the hose to keep it a little moist when I'm watering the plants.
The only issue in the last 5 months was that the disposal was getting a little stinky because we didn't really use it and so we never really turned it on for the little bits of whatever that ended up in it (a little coffee ground spillage, moldy cheese edges, whatever).
I'm about to switch piles (or divide the container I have) because I have great soil mixed with fresh nasty rot. I'm just gonnna let half the contain sit for 2 months and get nice for the plants.)
The hardcore mulch their yard waste and chop it up and run it into usable soil in 6 weeks. I'm lazy and into zero effort.
Garbage disposal is barely used. Using less trash (smaller can, lower garbage fees).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Our house is 13 years old with a septic system. We have both a dishwasher & disposal and have never had a problem. When the house was built, the "perk test" was excellent. We've never had the system pumped out. There's just the Wife & I, so we're not overloading the thing. I once called & asked if we should have them come out & pump the tank. They asked us a few questions about how we use the system & said we didn't need a pump out.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ditto.
I lived in my last house for 16 years. We had a dishwasher, disposal plus washing machine. Never once had the tank pumped out. They say you are supposed to every 3 to 5 years, but I have never had a problem with it. The wife USED to pour grease down the disposal, but I told her the problems it would cause and she keeps around empty spaghetti sauce jars for that....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote

country with a septic system that may or may not have a garbage disposal and/or a dishwasher.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
We have septic system and our toilet, bath, washing machine, sinks, and dishwashers all empty into it.
We have a garbage disposal, but we only use it to clear incidental things that rinse off the pots/plates before they are washed or go into the dishwasher - we don't purposefully throw things down the drain, and we scrape most of the stuff off the plates into the trashcan before rinsing/washing.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Dishwashers tend to actually use less water than hand washing.
As to a dishwasher, I have

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (rile) wrote in message

From what I've seen, it is OK to install a garbage disposal and a dishwasher but to make sure no grease or oily stuff is introduced to the system. That makes sense to me. The only problem I see is what happens to the small particles that go through the disposal? Are they too small to cause a problem to the effluent pipes at the exit from the septic tank or if it is emptied ever 4-5 years will that suffice for those particles.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
39 years running all effluents; garbage disposers, dishwashers, clothes washers, everything; into the septic system. Small amounts of grease flushed through with detergent and hot water. Pumped out every 3 to 4 years. No problems.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
rile wrote:

What is the problem? I've bought a book on septic systems. I believe it's "The Septic System Owner's Manual." The problem with garbage disposals is the fact it adds undigested solids to the septic system.
See, the bacteria present in the septic tank is able to digest almost anything that has already passed through the human body. In fact, that's where the bacteria comes from, the human body. This is why all those bacterial additives are worthless, just use the bathroom, and you'll add the bacteria. But I digress.
When you put extra solids down the drain, via the garbage disposal, you add solids that were not digested by the body. The bacteria cannot break down most of these solids, and they add to the material that needs to be pumped. Scrape your plates into the trash before washing them, and you will almost never have to use the disposal.
Now, as to the dishwasher, it's better than using the sink. As long as you scrape the plates, the dishwasher uses less water, and the less water you use, the better.
One more note, people seem to think that human waste adds to the solids. Not quite so. When human waste breaks down in the septic tank, most is converted into water and methane gas. --Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.