Water Softener Discharge

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

BARTSFAM

Member
Jan 21, 2009
91
Central MA
I have a Kinetico water softening system that was installed by the builder of my house. Just curious how everyone handles the brine solution that discharges?
My builder ran a 1/2" clear plastic tube along the ceiling of the basement, through a drilled hole that is almost flush with the side of the house and the deck. On the outside, that tube is about 6 feet above the ground.
Over the years, the discharge rusted the side of the bulk head, stained the vinyl siding, and completely destroyed the footing of my deck. I replaced the bulkhead and footing. I really don't want it to happen again!!

Temporarily, I took a length of garden house and put the 1/2" tubing down it, and flex taped it all together to get the discharge away from the house.
Winter is coming, and I figure the hose method will freeze and not allow the discharge. I figured I would extend the tube down the side of the house and run it underground to kind of a dry well away from the house. But, I still expect the tube running down the side of the house to freeze in the winter.

Anyone have any suggestions for a way to do this? The Kinetico guy didn't have any real solution. How does everyone else do it?
20210920_145115_resized.jpg
20210920_145136_resized.jpg
20210920_145125_resized.jpg
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,800
Northern Maine
Move the drain where it won’t hurt anything keeping it at short as possible and pitched to drain. Lose as much flexible hose as possible.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,193
central pa
I ran a drain line for mine. But that isn't always possible
 

BARTSFAM

Member
Jan 21, 2009
91
Central MA
Anything on the outside of the house I'm afraid of freezing. Even the little 1 inch stub of tube the builder left would freeze with a block of ice once in awhile on a really cold, bitter night.
My neighbor took out a 3' X 3' of cement from his cellar floor, down to the dirt, and lets his discharge just go into the dirt.
I'm not to keen on that idea.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,500
SE North Carolina
Really seems it should be plumbed into a drain. Any exposed drain lines in the basement you could T with a trap and run it too?

Other option is run it into perf pipe outside pvc all the way into the perf pipe below frost line. This seems like more work.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,800
Northern Maine
Really seems it should be plumbed into a drain. Any exposed drain lines in the basement you could T with a trap and run it too?

Other option is run it into perf pipe outside pvc all the way into the perf pipe below frost line. This seems like more work.

Dumping into a septic system is a no no around here.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Highbeam

Grizzerbear

Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2019
1,176
SW Missoura
Other option is run it into perf pipe outside pvc all the way into the perf pipe below frost line. This seems like more work.
This is probably the best solution if you can't drain into sewer line. I don't know if it would necessarily need to be below frost line though as it would only have water in it as it drains unlike a water line but it certainly wouldn't hurt. I'm assuming you would have to drill through the foundation though which would be a lot of work for a 3/4 drain. Maybe heat tape for the winter months. In principle I am agaist the stuff. I definitely would switch to pvc.
 

BARTSFAM

Member
Jan 21, 2009
91
Central MA
Yeah. I was thinking of hiring a plumber I know that does core drilling to get down low below the frost line, but was trying to avoid that cost. I've heard that I shouldn't get that brine water into my septic tank.
 

Grizzerbear

Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2019
1,176
SW Missoura
Yeah. I was thinking of hiring a plumber I know that does core drilling to get down low below the frost line, but was trying to avoid that cost. I've heard that I shouldn't get that brine water into my septic tank.

You probably shouldn't. I assume it probably harms the bacteria. In missouri lagoons are legal so that's where mine empties to.....not really sure that's any better. I've read that when you clean a water softener you are suppose to dump the water and salt sludge away from any trees,shrubs, etc so it doesn't harm them so I assume it isn't good on the bacteria that breaks down the solids in a septic system.
 

tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
904
Northwest Lower Michigan
Dumping into a septic system is a no no around here.
That’s how Culligan installed the one at my old house, a week after I moved in, they fitted a drain trap teed into the main septic line. Everything in the crawl space, ran the drain tube along the joists and dumped in like a washing machine drain. Not sure of current codes but I wouldn’t think of any other way. 17 years in that house and never had any septic issues and never had it pumped either.
 

Dataman

Minister of Fire
Sep 10, 2018
1,012
Newport, Wa
Got mine going into 55gallon barrel this is 30ft from house. Goes out of the house straight down into 4" PVC and that runs into barrel. All Buried about 2-4ft. Pretty sure one day it will fill up (rocks in barrel and holes to let the water out) Lint and Dirt. Will do it again. We replaced the 1st setup about 6 years ago. It lasted 20 years. Washing machine also goes into this. No Dead Grass

DSCN1414.JPG Measurements.jpg
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,500
SE North Carolina
Only link I found with a source.

 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,800
Northern Maine
That’s how Culligan installed the one at my old house, a week after I moved in, they fitted a drain trap teed into the main septic line. Everything in the crawl space, ran the drain tube along the joists and dumped in like a washing machine drain. Not sure of current codes but I wouldn’t think of any other way. 17 years in that house and never had any septic issues and never had it pumped either.
Instant fail on a Title 5 inspection in MA. Septic systems require the inspection to complete the sale.
 

BARTSFAM

Member
Jan 21, 2009
91
Central MA
I wasn't aware that it was against MA code to put it in my septic system. I just never did it because my neighbor swore that it ruined the bacteria and pretty much the septic system. He was the one that finally just chipped away a hole in the cellar floor and lets it drain into that.
I've been told that dry wells in Massachusetts for grey water and for water softener brine is also a no-no. My father in law used to install and maintain his dry well under the cover of darkness so as not to get caught.
Maybe I'll check with the local building inspector to see what is allowed, but not necessarily follow his suggestion.
For this winter, I may just keep it simple and install a short pipe just to get it away from the house and into the ground. If it freezes, my softener is smart enough that it doesn't regenerate if there is a blockage in the line.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,800
Northern Maine
I wasn't aware that it was against MA code to put it in my septic system. I just never did it because my neighbor swore that it ruined the bacteria and pretty much the septic system. He was the one that finally just chipped away a hole in the cellar floor and lets it drain into that.
I've been told that dry wells in Massachusetts for grey water and for water softener brine is also a no-no. My father in law used to install and maintain his dry well under the cover of darkness so as not to get caught.
Maybe I'll check with the local building inspector to see what is allowed, but not necessarily follow his suggestion.
For this winter, I may just keep it simple and install a short pipe just to get it away from the house and into the ground. If it freezes, my softener is smart enough that it doesn't regenerate if there is a blockage in the line.
image.jpg

Here’s a piece of it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BARTSFAM

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,338
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Don't put it in your septic. It's not only about the bacteria, it's mostly because the drainfield is only designed to absorb the amount of water that comes from the home, all the extra backwash water can overload your system and cause failure. If you were on sewer then sure, dump it there but you need an air gap fitting.

I dump my backwash waste into my gutter downspout system. Mine are all tightlined away from buildings and dump onto the surface.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BARTSFAM

Rob711

Feeling the Heat
Oct 19, 2017
433
Long Island, ny
Does the discharge pipe always have water in it? If you had a pipe with a good pitch into a barrel/drywell. Even in freezing weather I’d think the pipe would drain before it could freeze. I can see your town not liking this. So do it at night!
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
3,755
Eastern Ontario
Mine has been dumping into the septic system for 30 years without a problem
There are people who say yes to the septic and people who say no
For every person or study, you show me that says no I'll show you one that says yes
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,800
Northern Maine
Mine has been dumping into the septic system for 30 years without a problem
There are people who say yes to the septic and people who say no
For every person or study, you show me that says no I'll show you one that says yes
Well if it’s preventing the sale of a million bucks of real estate then how much do you need to study?
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,338
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
There are people who say yes to the septic and people who say no
For every person or study, you show me that says no I'll show you one that says yes
Especially in this information age you need to actually use your brain to choose the path you wish to follow because only you have to pay the consequences. Do your research, ask not only whether to dump into septic but WHY. Then you can choose.

I understand your issue though. I have high LDL cholesterol and don't want to take a statin. Same thing, I can find MDs all day that say whichever answer I need but it's not about votes. It's about WHY they voted that way.
 

BARTSFAM

Member
Jan 21, 2009
91
Central MA
Does the discharge pipe always have water in it? If you had a pipe with a good pitch into a barrel/drywell. Even in freezing weather I’d think the pipe would drain before it could freeze. I can see your town not liking this. So do it at night!
I'm going to try something like you suggest. In the past, the stub that came out of the side of the house would develop a ice blockage on really cold nights, and then it wouldn't purge anymore. I would have to work out the ice blockage to get it to work again. It wasn't really a big deal, but it required constant checking.
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
1,219
Palmyra, WI
I'm going to try something like you suggest. In the past, the stub that came out of the side of the house would develop a ice blockage on really cold nights, and then it wouldn't purge anymore. I would have to work out the ice blockage to get it to work again. It wasn't really a big deal, but it required constant checking.
We have the softener that drains into a crock, which then is drained by a 6" round running 200ft underground. At the far end it does freeze quite a ways up into the pipe. It is pitched nicely, and the freeze is more frost accumulation than from drainage. But even in 2014, with all the other frost depth issues we had it still did not plug