The convenience of having a garburator is undeniable. It gives you the ability to wash your leftovers down the kitchen sink quickly and easily, and it saves space in your garbage can (see “Advantages and Disadvantages Of Owning A Garburator“). So, what happens to the waste once it goes down the sink? For many people, once it is out of sight it is out of mind, but what actually happens is quite a journey.
The start of the journey is your garburator. When waste gets thrown down your garburator, the first thing that happens is that it gets grounded up by 3 blades attached to the garburator’s motor. This cuts the waste into small enough pieces that it can fit through a sewage pipe. It is important that the tap is running when using a garburator so that the waste can get pushed through the sewage pipes by the water. If you do not use enough water, the sludge may be too thick to be pushed down the drain pipe.
One thing to keep in mind with garburator waste is that it contains a lot of organic matter that is being pushed down the sewage pipes. Most municipalities have water treatment plants that can treat this water, getting rid of the organic matter in the water. When you have a high concentration of organic matter, it has a high BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand). What this means is that the waste needs more oxygen to break down the waste water, and it takes a lot longer too. Some municipalities do not have the facilities to do this, and some municipalities even have a ban on garburators for this very reason.
In conclusion, just because waste goes down the garburator doesn’t mean it completely vanishes. There is an interesting process that occurs to get the waste from your sink, to the treatment facility, and back to your sink again!