Why do septic tank contractors want you to get rid of your kitchen disposal?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

That brown stuff floating in the septic tank being pumped out in the photo below is not what you think it is. This particular house had been empty for a while, and it’s food waste, ground up in a disposal and flushed into the septic tank months before, yet still undigested by the anaerobic bacteria in the tank. Septic tank bacteria have no problem breaking down food that humans have already digested, but ground-up food scraps collect into clumps that don’t biodegrade easily and float around the tank, eventually clogging the drainfield.

   Clumps that looked like lumpy dinner plates were floating on top of the effluent and made pumping out the tank difficult for the technician Daniel, from our local Meyers Brothers Septic Tank Service. They kept blocking the suction line, and he had a few choice words to say about kitchen disposals.

   One of results of a backed-up drainfield is that roots follow the moisture as it retreats back into the tank. This tank also had plenty of roots in it, as shown below. A new drainfield will be the most likely recommendation after this pumpout.


    Thinking about getting a disposal for your house with a septic tank? Maybe you should reconsider. Or even take it out if you already have one.

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  To learn more about septic tank systems, see these other blog posts:

What are the building code requirements for gray water reuse in Florida?

What can I add to my septic tank to help it work better? 

How can I tell if a house is connected to a septic tank system or sewer?

How can I locate my septic tank?

Does a septic tank have to be re-certified if a house has been vacant for a while?

What is a grinder pump? 

How often should I pump out the septic tank?

Should I call a plumber or septic tank contractor when my septic tank backs up into the house? 

Do I have to get a larger septic tank when I build a home addition?

• Where is the septic tank? Are you going to inspect it? 

• Can a house have more than one septic tank?

• What is the difference between gray water and black water in the plumbing code? 

• Is it alright to disconnect the washing machine drain from the septic tank and divert it to the ground in the yard?

    Visit our PLUMBING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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