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Help- sink disposal tug of war!!

bevwinchester Feb 15, 2014 07:37 AM

This 37 year country wife with a septic system (aerobic system) needs/ wants an under sink disposal!! DH continues to attest that I can not have one on this system- wahhhhhhh! May I have your wonderful & very wise personal experiences & honest advice? BTW- my sink setup is the traditional 2 SS sink with smaller prep sink on the left.

  1. h
    Hobbert Feb 15, 2014 07:40 AM

    I grew up with a disposal on a well and septic. Ha apparently we weren't supposed to have one but my dad wasn't aware of that when he built the house. DH and I are getting ready to install one in our house on the same type system. Having lived with both disposals on a septic system and regular city water, the only difference is that you need to go a bit easier on the septic one. If you're used to not having a disposal, you'll be fine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Hobbert
      bevwinchester Feb 15, 2014 07:44 AM

      Hobbert- thank you so much- your personal experiences are exactly what I need. I also kinda wonder if there may be particular brands/ types that would suit the septic system better.

    2. c oliver Feb 15, 2014 07:51 AM

      We used to be on septic and the septic company advised us that you needed a more powerful disposal to grind things up smaller than the cheapies do. We didn't get it cause we recycle so much that our actual 'garbage' only caused us to have pickup every two weeks.

      6 Replies
      1. re: c oliver
        bevwinchester Feb 15, 2014 08:12 AM

        Thank you- that would make sense- I believe there are 3/4 & 1 hp. models.

        1. re: bevwinchester
          mcf Feb 15, 2014 08:15 AM

          Make sure to add microbial products to your septic system regularly overnight, and especially when on vacation, when they can really go to town on the gunk in the system.

          I love my sewer hook up. :-)

          1. re: mcf
            bevwinchester Feb 15, 2014 08:31 AM

            Mcf- yes, we do that.

            c. Oliver- thank you, a very smart suggestion.

            Alan408- hmmmm. DH may not like that.

            FishTales- yes, I do compost religiously as we have a garden, I just hate the itty bitty stuff that I would rather wash down.

            1. re: bevwinchester
              c oliver Feb 15, 2014 08:34 AM

              Well, shoot, if you already compost, I wouldn't get a disposal. I know several people who have one of these buckets that just sit on their counter. No smell. And they hold several (at least) days of material, i.e., coffee grounds, egg shells, etc.


              1. re: c oliver
                bevwinchester Feb 15, 2014 09:12 AM

                I agree but do not want the container sitting out; also, there's always extra little parts & pieces that just need to be sent out down to keep the sink clean, IMHO.

          2. re: bevwinchester
            c oliver Feb 15, 2014 08:17 AM

            I'd also check with a local septic company. They're the real authorities.

        2. a
          Alan408 Feb 15, 2014 08:15 AM

          The cabin is on septic, if you get a garbage disposal you may have to get your tank pumped out more often.

          1. f
            FishTales Feb 15, 2014 08:18 AM

            We live in an area that has only septic systems. They were new to us when we moved here 6+ years ago so we went to an annual talk on them sponsored by the local WaterWise office. Apparently for the septic system to work best the only things that should end up there once passed through a human digestive system.


            ps-- Compost!

            1 Reply
            1. re: FishTales
              John E. Feb 16, 2014 03:47 PM

              My brother has a septic system. The rule in their house is that if something has not been first consumed by someone, it does not get flushed, with the exception of single TP.

              I read somewhere that even food particles that are ground fine never really break dowb all that well. They form a skudge that is on the bottom and it will eventually cause problems.

            2. f
              Fiona Feb 15, 2014 08:38 AM

              I am on a city sewer system but - in my recent kitchen remodel the contractor added a disposal and said that it would prevent clogs in the sink. I didn't used to have clogs (predisposal) but now I find the drain gets slow & I have to use the disposal. That being said I continue to compost and very little of anything goes down the drain. I caution against a disposal because it is mostly a pain in the ***.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Fiona
                bevwinchester Feb 15, 2014 09:13 AM

                Hmmmm, I do have a slow running sink now- was hoping the disposal might help??

              2. Veggo Feb 15, 2014 08:53 AM

                I have had them and not had them and I can take them or leave them. My present home does not have one, we have trash pickup twice a week, and I always refrigerate or freeze stinky stuff until trash day (fish parts, poultry carcasses mostly).
                I replaced a unit that seized up in Colorado, not a big job. But you will need to bring electrical service to where you probably don't have it, and that will double your cost.
                And what Alan408 said is exactly true - you will have to pump out your septic more often. The stuff doesn't just disappear, you are moving it to an underground container.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Veggo
                  bevwinchester Feb 15, 2014 09:15 AM

                  Elec. is no problem & DH can handle that easily. Guess I need to consult with the aerobic system co. Thank you.

                2. junescook Feb 15, 2014 09:14 AM

                  We live in the country and have both a septic system and a disposal. The disposal supposedly is designed for septics, there is a little bottle attached to which you can add some sort of chemical. But since the CT extension svc, the NY extension and the US equivalent all recommend that you do not add any of these things to your tank we do not do so. (They tend to stir up the solids in the tank and clog the leach fields).

                  We do compost all of our large green waste and put large animal fat, bones, etc., into the garbage. At times I'll run chicken bones and ice down as recemmended by the manufacturer. We've had the disposal for about ten years and haven't had the tank pumped more frequently nor have septic people recemmended that we do so. It's simply handy to have when you're rinsing off plates and pans and things with little stuff on them.

                  1. c
                    cleobeach Feb 16, 2014 06:06 PM

                    Growing up, we had a disposal and a septic system.
                    There was never any issues but my mom never put fats down it. Protein scraps went to the cat. So I suppose not much really went through the disposal.

                    Conventional wisdom in our area is that on site sewage systems (septic and sand mounds) and garbage disposals do not mix. Something to do with how too much food stuff throws off the Balance needed for a septic to work efficiently. A business associate of my husband's in the pumping business strongly advised us against putting one in our cabin kitchen.

                    1. Veggo Feb 16, 2014 06:28 PM

                      Garbage disposals were illegal in NYC until 1997, and many buildings still don't allow them.
                      When I was a city manager in Colorado and had a wastewater treatment plant as a responsibility, I learned a lot about the little "bugs" that transform human waste in steps until it is harmless, but the discharge from disposals changes the chemistry and creates an expensive tier of waste that must be compressed and hauled away. No one will pay for it, you are lucky to get rid of it for free. You pay the haulage.

                      1. kaleokahu Feb 16, 2014 06:36 PM

                        Hi, BW:

                        Does your system have a greasetrap between the sink and the ST? This ups your odds of a hassle-free adulthood.

                        Opinions on GDs vary widely. One plumber told me that the ONLY thing that should be run through even an urban, sewer-served one is the washings from plates (i.e., no food scraps whatsoever). Obviously, this is not the way millions of people in the U.S. live their lives.

                        My own opinion is that--especially if you hit your system with enzymes regularly--you're OK.

                        And really, what's the difference if you pump your tank once every 10 years or 15?


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kaleokahu
                          bevwinchester Feb 17, 2014 07:30 PM

                          Thank you, Kaleo- excellent points. No, we don't have a grease trap but I would never dump grease in the sink. I am already very well schooled in minimal stuff getting washed down that drain.

                        2. John E. Feb 16, 2014 06:48 PM


                          My favorite slogan is #13. (I have no idea why #17 is there. Well, I guess I do have an idea.)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: John E.
                            bevwinchester Feb 17, 2014 07:27 PM

                            These are too funny!! Uh yes, #17 is questionable?

                          2. meatn3 Feb 20, 2014 03:48 PM

                            Since you are already composting and are just worried about the small bits...how about just using a mesh strainer in the sink? They catch most everything and are simple to empty into the trash and keep clean.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: meatn3
                              bevwinchester Feb 20, 2014 09:55 PM

                              Yes, I have seen those- truthfully, I have just about decided that I am so used to not having one; I probably shouldn't "rock the boat". Y'all have all provided me with wonderful & valid experience & info. Thank you!

                              1. re: meatn3
                                LMAshton Feb 22, 2014 07:53 PM

                                I use those mesh strainers. They work great. Need to be cleaned regularly, but that's just part and parcel of life. Almost nothing goes down my drain.

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