Do garbage disposals harm drain fields?

Doing the dishes again, aren’t you? You had mashed potato, greens, and southern fried chicken for dinner. The usual table scraps went down the garbage disposal in the sink before you did the dishes. As you hear the scrapings get all ground up, you think of the horror stories that were just recently shared by your friends about their septic systems. Although you never thought about it before, do garbage disposal really harm drain fields?

You have been a homeowner for ten years already and through the years, you have had a garbage disposal running with your septic system. You have never had any problems with your septic system at all. Your tank and drain field are absolutely fine even if you constantly use your garbage disposal. You wonder why your friends have been moaning and groaning about their drain fields and septic tanks all the time, tracing the problem back to their garbage disposal units.

The basis of the problems that your friends keep on complaining about dwells more in the design, maintenance and proper use of their septic system. The septic system is basically a wastewater treatment facility in your own home. It is sized with the number of people that live in your home and functions custom-fit to the demands of your household. There are guidelines provided in your county to give you and your septic professionals an idea of how bid your septic system should be. The septic tank’s main purpose is to collect the household wastewater and to separate the liquid from the solid wastes. This is also a vessel for holding the solid wastes that are being broken down by the bacterial population at the bottom. The completion of the treatment happens in the drain field. This is where the pre-treated effluent flows from the tank so that further purification will be made before it is dispersed into the surrounding environment. All the harmful bacteria, pollutants, viruses, and toxins are eliminated in this part of the septic system.

The waste that usually leaves our bodies contains bacteria. This is the same bacteria is present in the septic tank to breakdown the waste that continues to be deposited there. But because of the soaps and the various solutions that keep on getting dumped into the septic system, the solid particles are not effectively broken down. This leaves the drain field blocked with all the solid wastes that keep on dispersing into it. This is where the garbage disposal unit in your home gets to play a very important role as It actually helps in the breakdown of the solid particles that you dump into the sink. Grinding the food particles makes the surface area of the solid waste a lot larger and with that, the bacteria are able break down the solid wastes a lot easier. There will actually be less sludge when this happens and less risk of damage or harm to your field due to the disposals ability to “fine grate” the food waste.

When you have a garbage disposal unit in your home, all you have to do is to maintain it regularly as this should be done from the very start to avoid ever having a problem with your using your garbage disposal with your septic system. The reason why your friends keep on telling you that your garbage disposal won’t do any good to your drain field is because they didn’t maintain their septic system very well. If the septic system is well built, installed, and maintained, then there will be normally no problem at all handling the moderate amount of food waste that enters the septic system. Your system will more easily handle grease, fats oils and anything else you throw at it within reason and this in turn, will allow the drain field to operate more efficiently.

The garbage disposal can be as helpful as you have always thought it was provided you understand the biology of your drain field and what makes it tick. The only thing that you shouldn’t do is put excessive amounts of oils, fats, and grease with the food scraps that you dump into it. No matter how much grinding your garbage disposal does, it will not change the structure and consistency of the grease, fats, and oils and since we know these are bad for your system in excess, limiting the amount is prudent. So better dump the oils properly to avoid great damage to your drain field. You already know that the things you do from your house starts a chain reaction in your septic system. Share what you do as maintenance with your garbage disposal and septic system. Surely, no more horror stories will come your way.

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