Septic tanks and water softener options

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Greetings,
I've a septic tank, and fairly hard water. It's my understanding that the discharge from the cleaning cycle of a water softener is is damaging to septic tanks (or rather, the bacterial colonies, as well as the vegetation growing on the leach field).
What are the options for softening the water for the entire house in this case?
Thanks!
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??? Never heard that before. I've had a water softener for 20+ years, and my septic system has never had a problem.
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h wrote:

The only concern (other than by those promoting a "solution") I'm really aware of is the additional water volume may be a problem for a marginal system.
Here's a link to a U of MN site that's pretty informative...
<http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/naturalresources/components/6583-04.html
--
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dqb,
I presume that Javier fears that the brine that used to recharge the resin tank may be too salty for the septic system. I don't think that's ever been the case. He should check the size of his septic tank. As for the leach field, the softened water that goes through the septic tank and the brine both contain sodium chloride which may accumulate in the leach field. This salt eventually gets washed away by rain. I guess it's possible during a drought for enough salt to build up to stress the grass a bit. Never heard of this though.
Dave M.
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wrote:

It is the calcuim salts plugging the system they are worried about. The same crud you are keeping out of your water heater and clothes will eventually compromise the field ... or so they say. I just put a long piece of perforated drain pipe in the dirt near my discharge and piped the WS water there. That system has not failed. I lot probably depends on how well you "perk"
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On Sun, 02 Sep 2007 09:11:20 -0400, Javier wrote:

Never had a problem with a traditional salt conditioner and my former septic. If you are worried there are alternatives.
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Meat Plow wrote:

Right, thus my post. Can you recommend any alternatives?
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I have a septic tank and a water softener - the discharge goes to my sump pump well.
Banty
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Newer softeners put such a small amount of brine into the septic tank compared to the hundreds of gallons of effluent that it isn't an issue...
-- "Tell me what I should do, Annie." "Stay. Here. Forever." - Life On Mars
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Rick Blaine wrote:

That's a good point. Do you have any idea how many gallons of brine your typical modern softener puts out during a regeneration cycle?
By "typical modern" assume something Sears sells for household use...
Also, as far as any effects to the septic tank go, is KCL better/worse than NaCL?
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shorter service life than an industry standard softener?
The amount of effluent to drain during regneration is dependent on the hardness of the water and the hardness capacity of the softener.
A PROPERLY sized softener, regenerating every 7 or 8 days, treating water of say, 10g hardness. with a family of four will run about 50 gallons to drain. Raise the hardness or increase the # of people and that goes up. If the chosen softener is undersized, and most box store softeners like sears, GE, Waterboss, and Morton usually are, then they regenerate more frequently and waste more water and salt.
There's more to correctly sizing a softener than what the hardness capacity says on the box. Pre-built softeners usually quote that spec at maximum salt dose and that is not the most efficent use of the salt.

I haven't read of any. I prefer KCl. You can water plants with KCl softened water and it is more envirmentally considerate than NaCl. We prefer the taste of KCl softened water over NaCl softened water and besides, potassium is good for you. KCl costs more but I choose to spend the difference.
We have 26-30g hardness water and are two in the home. We use one bag of KCl a month, but our softener is sized and setup for the most efficent softening and regeneration operation. It didn't come that way, I had to fine tune it.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Yeah, that one. We had a Kenmore for several years, seemed to regenerate once a week at most, and seemed to be going strong after 7 years when we sold the house and left it behind.
What would you recommend as "industry standard"?

We used KCl as well, the price difference wasn't that much really, given we only used a bag a month or so.
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Industry standard softeners are sold by local independent water treatment professionals and are assembled using top quality components from the industry. Usually a Fleck or Autotrol demand initiated control valve with a Structural brand resin tank and Purolite or Sybron resin. Those components have proven themselves in the field for DECADES and are easy to get service, parts, and tech info for. Industry standard softeners commonly provide reliable service for 15-20 years with minimal routine service and are more efficent than the pre-built box store softeners.
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More efficient.... efficiency is based on how the softener control valve is programmed in relation to the volume and type of resin used in the softener. The size of the resin tank is dictated by the volume of resin in the tank.
Efficiency has nothing to do with the brand of resin tank or brine tank (or the size of brine tank), the brand of control valve (except the Autotrol Logix timer which only has three salt dose settings and used on various Autotrol control valves) or the brand of resin (there are at least 6 manufacturers of softener resin with numerous resins to choose from).
As to control valves, I suggest the Clack WS-1 as the best valve for DIYers. It is the easiest and fastest to repair and the parts are the lowest priced of all valves. Three Fleck engineers designed the Clack line of valves and copied and improved the piston, seal and spacer design Fleck has been famous for since 1953.
Clack is huge in the manufacturing of all kinds of parts and equipment for the water quality improvement industry from residential to industrial sized equipment. Clack has been in business since 1946, longer than anyone else manufacturing this stuff.
Many companies that had used Fleck valves for decades have dropped Fleck and gone to Clack, as many dealers and plumbing and pump supply houses have also. Fleck is raising their prices again (this year) by 7%. To my knowledge Clack hasn't raised their prices since 2000 but I've only been selling their valves since Jan 2 2004, but the prices haven't raised since then. I've sold roughly 880 of hem and had only 19 problems. And they are the lowest parts prices of any valve manufacturer. And there are no special, control valve model specific tools need to rebuild/repair a Clack like the Fleck 1500, 2510, 3600, 5600, 6600, 6700 and 7000 valves all require.
Now justalurker has said that he doesn't need the special tools for the 5600, and agrees with a guy that says he doesn't need the tools for a 2510. Before I'd believe it I'd have to see them replace the seals and spacers in any of those valves except the 7000 without the tools.
Truth be known, justalurker has a 1.5 cuft softener in his garage with a Clack WS-1 control valve on it that he bought from me in Jul 2004. He says he took it out and gave it to a buddy of his to be used as a door stop in his shed... he refuses to send me a picture of his garage showing a different softener, or none in his garage in Edgewood NM. I have pictures of his garage with the one I sold him.
Gary Slusser Quality Water Associates
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And this menutia has nothing to do with you statement "I've never heard of any limit on the amount of discharge in CA or anywhere else, can you directs us to your source for that information?"
since you seem "Googling challenged" when you can't bullshit everybody I've ALREADY provided you with just a FEW links that are on point.
Here you go, again...
http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/99-00/bill/sen/sb_1001-1050/sb_1006_cfa_19 ...
http://www.riversideca.gov/municipal_code/title_14/12/245.html
http://valleywater.org/media/pdf/Salinity_Management_Workshop/DWR%20O ...
http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/rwqcb3/Permits/documents/wdr00-12.pdf
Read and learn...
Please stop holding me responsible for the limitiations of your mechanical skills.
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On Sep 6, 5:18 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

And I still have no proof of your claim that there is a limit of the gallons of discharge etc. in those links, there isn't in the first link. So find, identify and copy/paste one instance where they limit the volume of discharge from a softener as opposed to outright banning them or allowing them.

You make the claim of no tools, not me. So show or tell us in detail how to replace the seals and spacers in a Fleck 5600 or 2510 without the special tools and I'll be corrected. Remember you can't get two fingers into the hole in the valve body to be able to grip a spacer.
Gary Slusser Quality Water Associates
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I have repaired more than 10 Fleck 5600 control valves with my own hands and without the special tools. No trick to it other than having the necessary mechanical skill. Don't blame me because you can't do it without the special tool.
There's no point in proving to you that I can. I know I can and you already know that you can't.
Special tools are designed to make a difficult job easier for the average parts swapper. Skilled technicians (in many fields) rarely use special tools because they've made those repairs BEFORE the tools exist. They have a higher level of skill and have mastered the task.
Those who can, do. Those who can't, use special tools or pay a professional to do the job for them.
Your refusal to believe that I can repair a Fleck control valve without using the special tool is amusing but perhaps, with enough practice and significant improvement of your mechanical skill, someday you may be able to do it also.
Grasshopper... when you can rebuild a Fleck control valve without the special tool it will be time for you to leave.
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The UPS guy just delivered 5 boxes from http://qualitywatertreatment.com to me containing a Fleck 2510SE 40K unit. Haven't had a chance to hook it up yet, but it looks nice out of the box. They forgot to include the resin funnel, so I'll need to cut a bleach bottle down. :)
No connection to the company other than they seem to run a good operation and the prices were reasonable.

That's kind of my feeling. NaCl runs around $5 a 40# bag, KCl runs $7 or so. Not worth worrying about.
-- "Tell me what I should do, Annie." "Stay. Here. Forever." - Life On Mars
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Rick,
Remember that 50 gallons of softener effluent isn't clean water, it includes "x" many pounds of NaCl or KCl.
That 2510SE should last you a long time and buying mail order is one option if you don't need service.
One tip for you... even though your softener probably includes a bypass plumb (if it doesn't then get one) a 3 ball valve bypass also. That way, if the Fleck bypass ever leaks or you have to completely remove the softener you can bypass that and still have water while you're waiting for the parts to fix it. Ball valves are cheap and being without water sucks.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

That's true... If you are buying 40 lbs of salt a month, that's 40 lbs of salt going into the septic system.

I've been known to sweat copper on occasion. :)

Agreed. I have a nice SS one.
-- "Tell me what I should do, Annie." "Stay. Here. Forever." - Life On Mars
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