Can I Have A Garbage Disposal With A Septic Tank?

by Shawn Anderson | Last Updated:  June 13, 2020

Can You Use A Garbage Disposal With A Septic Tank? Are They Safe For Septic Systems?

Garbage Disposal With A Septic Tank

Are you an aspiring or existing homeowner? Regardless of the kind, you will need some waste management resources. When we talk of these resources, two particularly come to mind. These are the garbage disposal and the septic tanks respectively.

Most people confuse these two. Some even think that they play the same roles. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is only by digging deeper into them can we know the truth. This is our goal in the discussions here below.

Can I Have A Garbage Disposal With A Septic Tank?

To answer this question appropriately, we are going to follow some steps. First and foremost, we shall define the two terms.

We shall proceed to know their similarities and differences. It is only then, we shall arrive at the most viable conclusion possible.

Septic Tank

A septic tank is basically an underground container or reservoir. In this tank, sewage from the home, building or other installations is channeled. It is thereafter allowed to decompose naturally by means of bacterial activities. After some time, the resultant residue is drained typically by means of a soak-away.

Garbage Disposal

Known variously as garbage disposer and garburator, the garbage disposal is a device that is fixed onto a kitchen sink. Its role is to shred the food particles and other solid wastes into small pieces. The same is disposed of via the kitchen’s plumbing mechanism. It is in most cases electrically powered.

Similarities Between A Garbage Disposal And Septic Tank

Though different in size and structure, these two waste management resources bear some similarities. The following are the main points of their convergence:

1. Waste Management

As stated severally, these two resources handle and manage wastes. The garbage disposal handles kitchen wastes whereas the septic tank handles all the wastes of a typical home.

Other than the core role, they also complement other waste management initiatives. If you care for a clean environment, these are gadgets you have no choice but to make use of.

2. Environmental Friendliness

They are also environmentally friendly. The main reason underlying this is the fact that they spare your environment from the adverse effects of unnecessary garbage and wastes.

Further, they also contribute to a clean, highly breathable and generally safe environment. These they do without inflicting too much strain on your part.

3. Remote Use And Applications

By their nature and design, these two resources are intended for remote use and applications. You will find them particularly handy in those areas that are detached from the city’s municipal water and sewerage systems. Further, their benefits to some extent surpass those provided by your municipality.

4. Maintenance Requirements

You will have to maintain these waste management resources from time to time. The garbage disposal has to be disconnected, filters replaced and the solid residues blown off.

As for the septic tank, you will have to drain the wastes out. This may happen after a long time though owing to its high capacity.

5. Wastewater Disposal

Even though the septic tank handles many kinds of wastes, they both primarily manage waste water. The garbage disposal handles waste water from the kitchen sink while the septic tank manages those from other parts of your home. You will hence have to look elsewhere for your other kinds of wastes such as the solids.

Differences Between A Garbage Disposal And Septic Tank

Having seen how similar these two resources are, the time has now come to examine how they differ. The following are the various ways and means in which these two wonderful waste management systems stand apart from one another:

a) Size

Generally speaking, the septic tank is larger in size than their garbage disposal counterparts. That is because they are designed to handle the wastes that are produced by the entire household. They also require larger spaces to install. This is not to mention that they are typically cumbersome to handle.

Being smaller, garbage disposal requires smaller spaces to install. Further to that, they are also easier to handle and manage. You may, as a matter of fact, manage them as a do-it-yourselfer. This means they are all the more convenient to make do with.

b) Overall Purpose

Even though both of them are designed to handle wastes, their overall contributions differ significantly. The garbage disposal is primarily intended to handle kitchen wastes. It is slotted in the space between the sink and the kitchen’s garbage disposal. Its role is also limited to shredding food wastes.

The septic tank has a broader scope of roles. It is large and intended to handle all wastes of a household. Apart from the one that comes from your kitchen, the resource also handles wastes from bathrooms, roof gutters, water closets, and general household use.

c) Applicability & Relevance

As has already been hinted above, the garbage disposal primarily shreds food wastes into smaller pieces. This is to let them flow smoothly in the kitchen’s plumbing system. In so doing, it prevents any possibilities of clogging your sink and the accompanying problems. The case is however different from the septic tank.

It accepts wastewater from all parts of your typical home. These include the kitchen sinks, bathrooms, water closets, rain gutters, and general household. It lets this wastewater decompose naturally through the actions of bacteria. As you may clearly see, its scope is wider, all factors considered.

d) Types Of Wastes Handled

The garbage disposal handles only food wastes which mostly originate from your kitchen sink. Even then, its role is limited to shredding these wastes into finer pieces only. It cannot, for instance, provide a conducive environment for the decomposition and ultimate breakdown of these wastes.

Though the septic tank lacks that ability to shred wastes into finer particles, it is nonetheless more thorough and comprehensive in its scope. That is because it handles all kinds of wastes and also goes further and beyond that which garbage disposal can do. It literally breaks down all wastes into their finest particles.

e) Installation Location

We have already stated that a garbage disposal is only installable in the kitchen. In many installations, occupies that space that exists in between the sink and the kitchen’s plumbing system. You can never place it in any other part of your home than this. That is because it will not really find relevance elsewhere.

The septic is larger than the garbage disposal. For this reason, it requires a larger installation space. In many buildings, it is installed outside the house but in the same compound as the home. Also, it is often buried in the earth and hidden from the view of just about any other person.

f) Capacity

Lastly, these two waste management resources differ in their capacities. The garbage disposal is small in size and has a limited capacity. As a matter of fact, it can hardly store and preserve any waste on its own. Many times, it handles the waste as they flow through it from the sinks.

Septic tanks are larger in size and capacity. They have that ability to hold plenty of wastes and for a longer duration of time. This means they are more convenient to make use of. At the same time, they also demand limited attention, repairs, and maintenance.


From the discussions above, it is clear that the roles of these two resources do not overlap but rather complement each other. Garbage disposal is limited only to the kitchen and in shredding food wastes to finer particles.

The septic tank, on the other hand, handles all of your household wastes. Further to that, it also ensures that the wastes break down to the finest portions imaginable. For these reasons, it is indeed possible for you to install the two of them at a time.As a matter of fact, you are highly encouraged to do so. That is the only way you may enjoy the cleanest environment possible. To do this, you will have to shop for the appropriate garbage disposal on a septic system diligently. You have to care for a number of factors as you go about this issue.

To be on the safe side, you must enlist the role of an expert. Bring in an experienced plumber to help you out. Let him walk you through the entire process from start to finish. In case you get stuck along the way, seek our assistance. We have aided persons of your kind in making the right decisions in the past.

So, when do you plan to acquire and install your garbage disposal or septic tank? If you live in a remote or detached location, you cannot afford to drag your feet. How else can you ensure a clean and safe environment? We wish you all the best in your subsequent acquisition venture!