Water softener/treatment recommendations?

We line in the country with a well that has water with iron and manganese and also smells like bad eggs. We also have a septic system.
Years ago (25 or so) we investigated this and had installed exchange tanks for water treatment. Our town is now planning on installing sewers so once and for all we can plan on getting rid of the septic issues.
Therefore I am now interesting in installing a water treatment system that will handle my whole house and be self seviceable (i.e.: backwash, etc.).
Have any of your contractors or homeowners have recommendations as to what are good solutions/brands and what we should stay away from?
Thanks in advance all.
Bob
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Get your water tested and then choose an unit. Anything here would be a WAG
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Here are some comments to take into consideration. http://www.bobvila.com/wwwboard/messages/11360.html If I were doing it, I would likely avoid RainSoft, would consider US Filter, and would seek a Consumer's Report on water softeners.

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Now you've got me intrigued. I always was told not to use a water softener in the country (because it messes with the bacteria balance in the septic system). I've met folks who had city water and a septic system; but never knew anyone on a private well with city sewer hook-ups. Are you? My mother-in-law has city water and a septic tank. She would love to use a water softener (mainly for her clothes and dishwasher). But I have always echoed what I heard from septic tank professionals and owners -- that it killed the bacteria in the septic tank causing the recycling process to break down, which results either in raw sewage being flushed from the tank because of excessive water flow or in sewage build-up and blockage, requiring a frequent pumping of the tank (currently her system runs so well that she never has to have it pumped).

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The agar culture used to grow bacteria in the laboratory is saline
The University of Wisconsin and the National Sanitation Foundation reports The addition of sodium to a septic system by use of soft water actually has beneficial effects on the digestion of wastes by bacteria. The volume of wastes from water softeners (about 50 gallons per regeneration) are added to the septic tank slowly and are not of sufficient volume to cause any deleterious hydraulic load problems. In fact, they are lower in volume and rate of addition than wastes from automatic washers. And the calcium and magnesium in softener regeneration wastes contribute to good air and water movement (improved soil percolation) through the septic system drainage field. when the sodium content from the softener regeneration cycle is discharged into the soil via a septic system along with other salts such as calcium, magnesium, and iron the result is an improvement in the soil's percolation rather than a detriment. The homeowner uses less soap -- studies have indicated as much as 50% to 75% less BUT (currently her system runs so well that she never has to have it pumped). When she does need it pumped it will be to late pumped now or Pumped and new system installed later at least you ccan say it wasn't the water sofener also not pumping the system at proper intervals allows detergent solids, as well as other solids, to be carried over into the drainage area causing clogging.
1_Patriotic_Guy wrote:

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Spud, I'm even more intrigued. Are you in the septic pumping business? When you mentioned pumping and too late, I got confused. Mom's system was installed in 1968 and is in my best guess a 5000 gallon stainless steel tank. It has never been pumped. The last time I serviced it, I put an aerorator (which essentially looks like a fishing trolling motor on a stick that churns the sludge to aid it in mixing the bacteria to break down faster) back into operation and added a white powder (would appreciate someone suggesting branded names) purchased at the local hardware store that was also supposed to aid the process of accelerating bacteria breaking down solid waste. My perception is that there really are only minute amounts (maybe one part per million) of solids going into the system. What we commonly call solid waste is really human manure, a soft-solid which actually breaks down 100% into pure liquid water after being eaten literally by the bacteria in the septic tank. The only solids are minute amounts of iron in the water or similar solids. The toilet paper always seems to totally disappear/disintegrate. My guess is it would take several hundred or perhaps a thousand years for these metals to accumulate. In reality most of them probably stay in solution and filter back into the back yard in what looks like clear water. Also, I'm told pumping actually removes the bacteria needed to break down the waste. I can understand why one would pump if the tank is too small for the family size or is out of bacteria balance and isn't breaking down the waste. My questions are this: 1) How often should a tank be pumped? I imagine it varies based on size. How do I tell that it needs to be pumped? 2) What are the names of additives to help make the septic system run right and how often do folks add them? 3) The trolling motor aerorator always seems to pop its local circuit breaker in between my visits home. Is it really necessary. What percentage of septic tanks have this feature?

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Mom's system was installed in 1968 and is in my best guess a 5000 gallon stainless steel tank. It has never been pumped. The last time I serviced it, I put an aerorator (which essentially looks like a fishing trolling motor on a stick that churns the sludge to aid it in mixing the bacteria to break down faster) back into operation and added a white powder (would appreciate someone suggesting branded names) purchased at the local hardware store that was also supposed to aid the process of accelerating bacteria breaking down solid waste. My perception is that there really are only minute amounts (maybe one part per million) of solids going into the system. What we commonly call solid waste is really human manure, a soft-solid which actually breaks down 100% into pure liquid water after being eaten literally by the bacteria in the septic tank. The only solids are minute amounts of iron in the water or similar solids. The toilet paper always seems to totally disappear/disintegrate. My guess is it would take several hundred or perhaps a thousand years for these metals to accumulate. In reality most of them probably stay in solution and filter back into the back yard in what looks like clear water. Also, I'm told pumping actually removes the bacteria needed to break down the waste. I can understand why one would pump if the tank is too small for the family size or is out of bacteria balance and isn't breaking down the waste. My questions are this: 1) How often should a tank be pumped? I imagine it varies based on size. How do I tell that it needs to be pumped? 2) What are the names of additives to help make the septic system run right and how often do folks add them? 3) The trolling motor aerorator always seems to pop its local circuit breaker in between my visits home. Is it really necessary. What percentage of septic tanks have this feature?
Thanks in advance.
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" My questions are this:

Complete breakdown of the solids should occur except that the average homeowner does things that screw up the process like take showers and do laundry which puts soap into the tank which kills bacteria. And if you really want to mess up your system you can start doing things like cleaning a bunch of paint brushes in the laundry room and flushing condoms down the toilet.
We had ours done when we first moved in and again about 8 years later. The septic guy said it look perfectly fine but there is just two of us. He installs and services septic systems says to pump the tank out every 7 to 10 years. Obviously he has a vested interest in getting tanks pumped. On the other hand, getting the tank pumped cost $125 which is a small fraction of the cost of replacing the septic field if the lines no longer flow properly.
Rid-X is a major brand of septic tank additive.
Personally I have never heard of a trolling motor in a septic tank. Call around to some of the septic installation and service companies in your area and ask them if they are common.
Steve.
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When our septic system was installed during construction, I got talking to the SEO(sewer enforcement officer) about septic systems. He schooled me a little. There are 2 kinds of septic systems; aerobic and anaerobic. I still get the 2 confused so if It's backwards excuse me. Aerobic is a system in which cultures are introduced into the system . The bacteria eat away the solids. If maintained properly, these systems never need to be pumped. These systems have an aerator pump in them to keep air introduced in the waste thus allowing bacteria to grow. The other system, anaerobic, which I have is a "Dead" system. It accumulates waste and when full, you pump it out. I asked the SEO how often I should get it pumped? He told me the best way to figure that out is to let the system get full once, then you'll have an accurate timeline based on your family's usage. Basically, all households are not the same. I took the lid off my system last year bcause the pump switch stuck on. Believe it or not it is still without accumulation of solids. So even though I have a dead system, The solids are obviously still breaking down. This was after 5 years.

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