Every house needs a setup to ensure proper management of water. Two of the main components in this setup are the septic tank and a water softener.
What is a Septic Tank?
A septic tank is a very useful part of your home. It is an underground chamber, made of concrete, fiberglass or plastic. The domestic waste of your whole house enters this chamber through the plumbing pipe and is left there for decomposition before it passes to the main drainage line of the city. Without a septic tank, the main lines will be flooded, and there is also a possibility of spills in your home’s drainage system.
The solid/heavier waste settles down at the bottom while the lighter waste floats on the top and the liquid waste. Human waste contains bacteria that decompose the waste, reduce solids, and organics. It is a moderate sewage treatment facility.
What is a Water Softener?
There are two types of water softeners: salt-based and salt-free water softeners. Here we will only discuss the working of a salt-based water softener as it has a concern with the septic tank. A salt-based water softener works by removing the hardness, causing elements like calcium, magnesium, and iron from your water and provide you with soft water. The softener uses resin and softener salt to achieve this goal. The resin needs to be back washed depending upon your water usage. It consumes a lot of water, and this water (high in salt) enters your septic tank.
The Connection between a Softener and Septic Tank
Some people are of the view that the wastewater from a softener negatively impacts the working of a softener tank. In this article, we will examine the relationship between a softener and a septic tank and also look at some of the myths related to the use of water softener along with a septic tank. Research has been conducted by leading water organizations such as WQA and NSF on the relationship of water softener and septic tanks.
The discharge water from a softener is high in salt content. A softener can dispel around 50-100 gallons of water on every backwash cycle. This amount of water can put a heavy load on the septic tank. We will look at both of the relations in detail below.
The Salt Effect
The amount of salt in the brine water (discharge water) is negligible. It has no effect on the bacterial reproduction or anaerobic activity of the bacteria. NSF and WQA have conducted a lot of research on this and found that salt-water affecting your septic tank is just a myth. On the other hand, a small amount of salt, as present in the softener discharge water, may help speed up the decomposition process.
Apart from this, the modern-day water softeners are intelligent machines. They regenerate based on water usage rather than automatic or manual settings. For example, if your household is not consuming much water, the softener will delay the backwash cycle or just reduce the amount of salt and water used for resin regeneration.
The Water Effect
The argument that a softener sends a huge load of water towards your septic tank, and it may result in overflow of solid wastes towards the main drainage line, is also weak. Most of the softeners just use the same amount of water like a washing machine.
A water softener uses around 50-100 gallons of water for regeneration. An average American adult uses around 50 gallons of water per day, but that water is not discharged. Almost all of the well-built septic tanks have the capacity to handle the additional load of water without any spills. The water is automatically adjusted in the septic tank, and the decomposition process is not disturbed.
How can the regeneration water load be reduced?
Although regeneration wastewater will not impact your softener much, you can employ the following tips to make sure everything is safe for your septic tank.
- Get a softener that regenerates based on need and not on routine. Such machines are a bit costly but help you save salt and water in the long run.
- Use less water and save more. You can control your water usage by reducing the water levels in the washing machine, dishwashers, and appliances that consume a large amount of water.
- Water softeners with a large salt tank also help in saving your water. It takes up a large quantity of salt at one time but decreases the frequency of backwashing.
- Discharge the water softener backwash cycle outside of the septic tank. Ensure that local laws allow this practice.
- You can also adjust the settings for regeneration when the septic tank does not have much load. For example, if the softener backwashes at the same time you are doing laundry, your septic tank will have to bear a lot of water load.
- You can also use a separate drain pipe for backwash water.
- Look out for the broken appliances or plumbing connections. The leakage may be a drop after a few seconds, but it can ultimately increase the amount of water entering your septic tank. Such things are also a source of water wastage.
Final Word: Take care of both