What to do with hard, hard water?
Drilled a new well when we built a home in rural Indiana. Karst country. The driller went through three caves to hit the aquifer, and the well is almost 400 feet deep. We haven't used it much ... several hundred gallons, probably, since we just pumped it into a temporary 250 gallon tank. But now we are ready to move into the house and trying to figure out water softener, heater, etc. The house is plumbed mostly with PEX, and copper going to the kitchen. The water has some slight coliform (not e.coli) bacteria, so we'll install a UV disinfector.
My question is, is our water really this hard (tested last year at about 100 grains)? Is it because of the drilling, and will the hardness go down over time? What kind of monster water softener is it going to take to get this water usable? And is that going to make the water so salty that we can't drink it? We talked to one softener guy, and he suggested getting a water dispenser for drinking. My partner wants to run four kinds of water through the house: cold unsoftened water for the icemaker, toilets, and for drinking, cold soft water for cooking, hot soft water to the kitchen, hot unsoft water to the bathrooms .. this just seems too complex.
Well source is close to river level
Our home is on top of a bluff above the Blue River in Indiana. So the well is drilled down lower than the level of the Blue by, I forget, 50 - 100 feet. Maybe the source of the bacterial contamination is coming from the many cows that are pastured along the Blue? We have a cultivated field next to the well that only grows soybeans or corn, no animals. Also there is a campground just upstream from us a couple miles, and it's not very clean - lots of people who camp all winter without power or water supply - and we believe those campers empty their poop buckets into the river. Have had a couple five-gallon pails full of sewage wash up on our riverbanks before.
The next door neighbor also had the same bacteria, but they also had the same well driller, many years before. I'll get the water tested again after it runs awhile.
The reason we wanted to separate soft/hard water was really to spare dumping all the flushed salt into the septic system. If the water is really that hard, then won't the softener have to regenerate often and then where does all that salt go? Seems it would kill of the bacteria in the septic tank. Also, for the same reason we didn't want to put in a RO water purification unit - don't those generate a lot of waste water per pure water output, and then wouldn't all that water have to go in the septic system?
Sorry for all the questions - this is all new to me, and it's wonderful to be able to consult with experts instead of poking around with Google. I sure do appreciate the thoughtful and helpful responses. If anybody has any questions about book and document conservation or computer maintenance, would be happy to return the knowledge favor!