Can You Have A Garbage Disposal On A Septic System

Can You Have A Garbage Disposal On A Septic System

Checkout my video this is a summarized version of our in-depth article below. 

One question we usually asked regarding garbage disposers is this: Can you have a garbage disposal on a septic system? We know that a proper method of waste disposal is one of the significant keys to the sanitation of our homes. And most homes have a centralized sewerage system that transports all their wastewater to a central treatment plant. However, not every household shares this system. For most households in rural areas, for example, a septic system usually is used. A septic system involves a finely tuned process that consists of an underground wastewater treatment structure so a combination of nature and technology is involved in treating wastewater from households. 

Garbage Disposal On A Septic System

Having a garbage disposal unit at home is more often than not means you are connected to a centralized sewerage system. But for those with a septic system, installing a garbage disposer is usually something that people don’t normally do. So if you fall under this category, then you may be wondering how can you have a garbage disposal on a septic system? 

Garbage Disposal On A Septic System

There’s basically a big difference between the two systems: centralized sewerage system and septic tank use. For the first category, the city’s local government is taking care of this system particularly with regards to the sewerage. All wastewater that comes from the residential areas will be flowing into the central facility where water treatment will be done. While for the septic tank system, all of the household wastewater stays on people’s property and mainly goes underground to a septic tank storage.

Garbage Disposal On A Septic System

This article will help you understand the issues that are involved in the establishment and management of garbage disposals and at the end of the discussion, you will know the answer to the questions: Can you have a garbage disposal on a septic system including the questions that many people usually ask like “can you put a garbage disposal in a single sink?; “do you have to empty a garbage disposal?”, and “do you need a garbage disposal to have a dishwasher?” So everything you ever wanted to know with regards to garbage disposals and wastewater storage is here.

Is Using a Garbage Disposal Safe For Septic Systems?

The answer to this question is yes, it is safe to use a garbage disposal unit while on a septic system. However, using a disposer will greatly increase the number of solids that go through your septic system and knowing this, you may have a second thought if you really need a garbage disposal. So in short, it is possible to have a garbage disposal on a septic system BUT you just have to take extra precautionary steps in doing so.  

Garbage Disposal On A Septic System

But don’t worry, we have some tips for you so that at least both your disposal unit and septic tank can work well together and avoid causing problems for your household.

How To Make Garbage Disposals and Septic Systems Work

Naturally, homeowners who want to prolong the life of their septic system need to seriously take precautions in maintaining their garbage disposal units. But how can you have a garbage disposal on a septic system and make it work by relying only on the proper care and maintenance of the septic system? Try these tips –  

Don’t throw in food items or things that don’t decompose easily. Things like cigarette butts, paper towels, coffee beans, and trash should not go to your garbage disposal. These kinds of stuff take time to decompose and when these accumulate will cause issues with your septic system’s volume capacity.

Be cautious of the types of cleaners you use on your garbage disposal. Strong bleaches can damage both your disposal unit and your septic tank. Try using gentle and organic biodegradable cleansers to avoid damaging your septic storage tank. 

Do not throw starchy food items like rice or pasta into your disposal unit. These kinds of food can expand when mixed with the water in your drainage and can cause jamming in your garbage disposer as well waste build-up in the septic tank.

Don’t pour grease, oil, or fat into your disposer or your drain. These don’t break down in your septic system and can also cause clogs in your garbage disposal unit.

Most importantly, remember to pump out your septic tank regularly if you are heavily using the garbage disposal unit. Doing so can prevent having large amounts of build-up in the septic system. Hire a professional service for this job. 

So these are the tips to answer the question of how can you have a garbage disposal on a septic system. And as you can see, having a garbage disposal unit while being on a septic system requires a bit more care and attention than those on a central sewage system would have. Most people would advise against having a disposer while having a septic tank, but if it’s something that you want to have, then make sure to follow our advice. 

Can You Put A Garbage Disposal In A Single Sink?

The answer to the question can you put a garbage disposal in a single sink is yes.  You can install a garbage disposal either on a single kitchen sink or to a twin sink.The latter seems to be more common in most households but installing a disposal unit in a single basin sink can be easy. 

However, you need to know that not all disposal units are compatible with all sinks. So if you’re planning to install a disposal for your kitchen’s single sink, you better look at its attachment points and especially the hoses and pipes under your sink.

Do You Have To Empty A Garbage Disposal?

The answer to the question “do you have to empty a garbage disposal” as part of its maintenance process is yes. Doing so can minimize potential problems as well as preventing those small food scraps from getting stuck which can lead to blockages. Because your garbage disposal can’t flush every single bit of sludge and debris down, even the tiniest bits of food can attract more food scraps which can lead to clogs and produce a foul odor. 

Can you Have a Garbage Disposal On A Septic System

So basically, the best thing you can do is to regularly clean up your garbage disposal unit at least once a week. One easy way to clean out stuck debris into your garbage disposal is to grind up some ice cubes and incorporate lemon and orange peels as deodorizers. 

Can you Have a Garbage Disposal On A Septic System

The ice cubes can help loosen up food scraps that get stuck to the sides of your unit while the fruit peels can get rid of the nasty odors. But if you realize that there are larger chunks of food or if there’s anything stuck in the disposer that shouldn’t be there such as a fork or a spoon, or any other non-food items, the best thing you can do is manually emptying your unit. So do you have to empty your garbage disposal manually? This is the best way with these easy steps. 

How To Empty Your Garbage Disposal Of Blockages and Debris

There are three things you can do if you have to empty a garbage disposal.   The following procedures can  help and these may also work in unclogging blockages in your disposal unit:

Use Pliers or Tongs

If you see that a large piece of food or a non-food item is stuck in your disposal unit, you can use a pair of pliers or a kitchen tong to take out the blockage. But safety first, so you need to turn off the disposer then use your pliers or tongs in taking out the obstruction. Always remember to use tools when picking up debris from inside the unit and never use your hands alone.

Flushing Out the Clog in the Drainpipe

An obstruction in the drainpipe can lead to a clog in both your garbage disposal and your sink. All you need to do to unclog your drain pipe is to put the sink’s water stopper in, fill up the sink with cold water, add some dish soap and stir. Once the sink is filled , turn the unit on and remove the stopper to drain the water out. The force of the water through gravity plus the slippery quality of the water/soap will force the blockage to slide out and will take away the stubborn remnants of food that were stuck inside the drainpipe. 

Use a Plunger

For clogs that are especially tough to remove or if the obstruction is too far down to be reached using tongs or pliers, you can try using a toilet plunger to loosen up the clog. Fit the water stopper into the sink, fill the sink with cold water then release. Once water enters the sink, use the plunger. The force in the water that will be created by the pumping of the plunger can de-clog any obstructions inside the garbage disposal.   

Do You Need A Garbage Disposal To Have A Dishwasher?

All dishwashers need to drain out through an indirect waste receptor. Ideally, having a garbage disposal is the easiest way for your dishwasher to have something to drain to since any garbage disposal would have an inlet that is designed specifically to fit a dishwasher discharge hose. 

Can you Have a Garbage Disposal On A Septic System

However, if you don’t feel like installing a garbage disposal, you may also wonder and ask – do you need a garbage disposal to have a dishwasher? Well, basically you don’t have to install a garbage disposal just to have a dishwasher because there are other ways to make a dishwasher work without having to install a garbage disposal. 

Even though about 9 out of 10 households with a dishwasher also have garbage disposals, installing a new dishwasher does not mean installing garbage disposal is also a must. So what you can do is connect the drain hose of the dishwasher into your plumbing system and out into the sewerage system. However, it’s also important to remember that you need to give special attention to the drain, water supply line, and electrical connections to have a successful installation process.

If hiring a professional plumber is not an option, you can look for an instructional video on how to bypass your plumbing system, how to install your dishwasher connectors and also what materials you will need.  Moreover, here are the procedures for installing a dishwasher even without garbage disposal installed. 

How To Install a Dishwasher Without a Garbage Disposal Through an Air Gap Fitting:

Probably the best answer for the question, do you need a garbage disposal to have a dishwasher is through showing you the procedures without a garbage disposal. So what you’ll need to use is the air gap fitting of your dishwasher. Your dishwasher’s air gap is a fitting mounted about two inches above the sink. It prevents contaminated water from going back into the dishwasher via backflow. This device provides a simplistic way of ensuring that any wastewater and contaminants will never re-enter your clean water supply.

Can you Have a Garbage Disposal On A Septic System

Here are the ways on how to install a dishwasher without a garbage disposal: 

Connect the hose to the air gap. Do this by connecting the dishwasher’s drain hose adjacent to the side of the air gap, mounted on the countertop or the sink deck. You might have to use some force to be able to slide the hose onto the air gap fitting.

Connect the hose to the drainpipe by hooking up the larger end of the air gap onto the Y-branch tailpiece on the sink drain. Do this using a rubber hose. Y-branch tailpieces come in two different sizes, so be sure to get one in the size that fits the hose running from the air gap.

Finally, secure the hose with the hose clamps. You have to attach both ends of the hose to their tailpieces with the hose clamps. But before you clamp the hose in place, be sure that there are no defects in the tubing. Hoses don’t always come in the exact length that you need. No need to worry though because the ones that are too long can be trimmed down to the right size.

How To Install a Dishwasher Without a Garbage Disposal Directly to Drain:

Because not all dishwashers come with an air gap fitting, you may need to create a drain line configured in a “high loop” directly to the drain. However, before you do this, be sure to check your local building codes and see if the high loop method is legal in your area as it is not permitted in some states.

Start by looping the drain hose by pulling as much of the drain line as possible from behind the dishwasher. Loop it as high as you can from under the sink and strap it in place. Doing so will prevent any wastewater from the sink drain from coming back into your dishwasher.

Then, attach the hose to the sink drain by taking the end of the dishwasher drain line and attaching it to the Y-branch tailpiece. After that, you can secure it with a hose clamp.



A garbage disposal unit is a very useful tool to manage your kitchen waste without worrying about how to dispose of the wastewater. So regardless if you’re connected to your city’s central sewerage system or you are using a septic system, no problem if you want to install a garbage disposal unit. You can also connect this to your dishwasher but not really a requirement.  

So be sure to grind those ice cubes as your first aid to your garbage disposal and pump out your septic tank regularly to maintain healthy septic tank storage. So hopefully, this page answers the usual question:  about can you have a garbage disposal on your septic system?

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