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Thread: Water softener damage concrete septic tank?

  1. #1

    Question Water softener damage concrete septic tank?

    Hello,

    My wife and I recently purchased a 6 year old home. The home has well and septic systems and since we've both been city dwellers up to now, we are newbies when it comes to operation/maintenance of septic and well systems. I had the well water tested prior to purchase, and was told there were no organic/inorganic contaminants, but was recommended to install a water softener. As part of the home inspection, I had the septic system checked by a local septic professional that was recommended to me by several local building professionals. When I mentioned I planned to install a softener, he recommended me to NOT hook up the softener waste line to the septic system. He was not concerned about too much water from the softner or damage to the bacteria, rather he was concerned about damage to the concrete septic tank from the salt. He says he has seen numerous concrete tanks eaten away at the outlets due to the salt from the softener.

    Is this truely a concern? If so, what can be done about it? His suggestion was to put in a mini-septic system. What is meant by this and what is the rough cost to do something like that?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking never heard of it

    well, maybe in 300 years the salt might
    have an adverse affect on the concrete tank...

    if you have a sump pump pit that pumps it out to the storm
    sewer you could drop it in there I suppose.

    my water softener goes into our septic tank for the
    last 45 years.....and I am not too worried about it..


    that guy is really reaching for problems...

  3. #3
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    My question to him would be how he knows that it was the salt that did the damage, and why doesn't it do it to everyone that has a softner and tank?

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    This is a new one on me also.

    bob...

  5. #5

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    Thank you for your opinions. The inspector told me the septic system looked perfect and when I mentioned my plan to install the softener he made the comment about the tank in a kind of off-hand way. Because he didn't seem adamant about it, I suspected it was not a large concern, but wanted to get some opinions.

    Now that I plan to go ahead and get the softener, any suggestions as to what size and/or features I should look for? The house has 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths with 2 adults and 2 children residing in the house (but lots of company - I feel like I'm running a B&B with all the friends the wife has over - Ha!).

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    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Determine all of your water treatment needs. The last thing you want to happen is to put in a softener, and then when you find another problem they tell you that you need a bunch of more units.

    Do you need an acid neutralizer? Do you need to remove iron or manganese? When you talk to a water treatment vendor, ask them to give you an itemized proposal for everything you will need, and show you how those requiremets are related to your water test results. Then apply my rule of NEVER signing any contract for such things until you have had a chance to consider the proposal at your leisure. Get proposals from 2 or 3 vendors.

    Your water test to determine hardness level will provide information to determine how much hardness needs to be removed and should give you information on iron, manganese, and pH.

    Your softener should have a control that measures water usage with a little internal turbine. That will automate the regeneration cycle, which will run in the middle of the night.

    Someone may try to sell you a sediment filter. I believe the sediment filters that use sand are not effective in removing fine particles. They are used in municipal systems where they add chemicals to coagulate and flocculate the small particles but you are not going to be adding those chemicals. I would use a replaceable cartridge filter with lots of surface area. I have had good service from the double length (20") Harmsco Poly Pleat cartridges for the "Big Blue" housing. http://harmsco.com/pdf/IP_CalypsoBlue_FINAL_040904.pdf. You can buy a lot of replacement cartridges for the cost of a tank filter.

  7. #7
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyotoman
    Hello,

    My wife and I recently purchased a 6 year old home. The home has well and septic systems and since we've both been city dwellers up to now, we are newbies when it comes to operation/maintenance of septic and well systems. I had the well water tested prior to purchase, and was told there were no organic/inorganic contaminants, but was recommended to install a water softener. As part of the home inspection, I had the septic system checked by a local septic professional that was recommended to me by several local building professionals. When I mentioned I planned to install a softener, he recommended me to NOT hook up the softener waste line to the septic system. He was not concerned about too much water from the softner or damage to the bacteria, rather he was concerned about damage to the concrete septic tank from the salt. He says he has seen numerous concrete tanks eaten away at the outlets due to the salt from the softener.

    Is this truely a concern? If so, what can be done about it? His suggestion was to put in a mini-septic system. What is meant by this and what is the rough cost to do something like that?

    Thanks.
    I've never heard that concern before, and I get the Small Flows magazine from the septic system clearing house (government) folks and have scanned it for all articles concerning softeners etc. for years. It is at the University of WV web site.

    Since he mentioned the "mini-septic system", he should know the cost. Which I would venture is more than not doing anything and running your discharge into the present and larger septic you already have; as millions of others have done for numerous decades without problems.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates

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