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Resin softeners and septic systems

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Biglumber, Jan 19, 2008.

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  1. Biglumber

    Biglumber Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Messages:
    73
    Loc:
    Colorado
    I am looking into water softeners. What is the story? Brine effluent killing the bacteria in the septic system? Any real world experience?
    The latest story I picked up off of the web is from a study done in the late 70's. It states that "Treated water returning to the septic system must also have the effluent returned to the septic". "A softener system utilizing a salt brine recharge method that does not return the effluent to the septic system is more harmful to the septic system than not having a softener at all".

    I take that as it is not advised to return effluent in such a way as leeching to an open field or discharging the brine outside the house on the ground.

    I have;

    A whole house filter at 25 micron.
    Hard well water tested at 15 grains but I know it is heavier now as our well is aging and the solids are accumulating.
    Hard water stains and accumulation around fixtures and any recess in the shower/tub.
    Water heater popping when heating, I can just imagine the scale buildup inside the water heater.

    I want;
    A clean truck after I wash it.
    No more staining around faucets and fixtures.
    Domestic grade water quality as far as hardness.

    I am prepared;
    To separate the outside faucet bibs from the treated water system as advised from many that have experience. Unfortunately none of them have septic systems.
    To separate our reverse osmosis filter from the treated system as advised.

    This system as I have laid out will treat all water, not just hot. It is sized for 65 to 80 thousand grains per recharge and it is flow metered as far as the recharge cycle.

    Where do I drain this thing? Septic or ground.

    TIA

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  2. bruce

    bruce Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    191
    Loc:
    long pond pa
    i drain mine into the stone under my basement floor, i drilled a hole next to the well lines out of the floor and secured it no problems in 3 years
  3. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Messages:
    917
    Loc:
    Deltaville,VA
    I ran my discharge to a drainage ditch about 100' from the house. Don't put it in the septic.
  4. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,475
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    I have a softener and a septic system, and drain backflush into septic tank.
    Outside faucets are not softened, cause if we do water our plants (and we do it sparingly cause of the well), who wants to pay for treatment?
    I've read articles that said that recharge into septic is not bad-it gets pretty diluted in the tank, I'd think.
    Our house is ~4 years old and we've been here 2 years. We had the tank cleaned out for the first time this summer, and the guy didn't say anything was bad.
    I am thinking about adding a separate faucet for drinking water and maybe putting the icemaker on untreated water. Anybody know how minerals can affect the icemaker? Ours water is hard, but not terribly.
    Our last house had muni water from wells and it was hard! I was too cheap to buy a softener 'cause I already paid for the water. You'll like the softened water-no deposits. I needed to get used to the slimey feel after showering though.
  5. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,812
    Loc:
    Ashland OH
    If you change over to Potassium Chloride, you won't have to worry about what your drinking, or any harm to houseplants, or gardens. We buy natures own potassium chloride for our softner, and it is very healthy for us. We don't have to filter it in order to drink it. Something to think about. Dad has horrible water. A whole house filter, a double softner system and he still requires reverse osmosis to drink the water. He has an outlet that is seperate outside, but the problem is if he forgets and washes his house with the wrong outlet, it will turn his house orange.
  6. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2007
    Messages:
    312
    Loc:
    Chester Springs, Pa
    I have had a water softner running for at least 8 years and it recharges into the septic. Have not had a problem. The brine tank tho does not dump to the septic, goes to another leaching field.
  7. pdboilermaker

    pdboilermaker New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Messages:
    140
    Loc:
    North Central Indiana, Kokomo
    The brine can kill the "bugs" in the septic tank and slow down the process of decomposition. This is why many POTW's (in towns) are trying to restrict salt use by banning it or putting a surecharge in place. You can change to potassium BUT in Indiana it is about $3.00/bag.

    I have been looking for saltless softeners such as the "Easywater" units but they, according to themselves, dont do a good job with iron.
  8. reaperman

    reaperman Member

    Joined:
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    168
    Loc:
    Central Minn
    Actually, there is no current or past data that can confirm that the brine actually does any harm to your system other than add more water to your drainfield. Some drainfields in poorer soil conditions should never take on any extra water than necessary. For this reason, if there is any alternate place for the water to be drained it can be beneficial. If there isn't, it wont hurt the septic system, other than adding more water to be treated by the drainfield. This topic is brought up year after year by the University of Minnesota, extension. And is detailed in our continuing licensing process. The univerisity, professors, moniter and develop new and existing systems continusly to keep the septic code updated with all of the latest scientific findings.
  9. Biglumber

    Biglumber Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Messages:
    73
    Loc:
    Colorado
    Thanks for the replies.

    I haven't bought the softener yet. I did go to HD and found potassium ch at 15$ bag. That is a little more than last time I looked(like 2x the price). That fact may put a damper on it.

    I can just imagine spending money and installing a nice system only to have the enviro's surcharge the salt. Even when I don't discharge to a metro facility.

    When and if I do this, I decided to drain into the septic(deep breath).

    Thanks again
  10. bruce

    bruce Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    191
    Loc:
    long pond pa
    i think this has made to big a bigger deal than should be
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