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cement septic tank/ water softener compatability

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  • cement septic tank/ water softener compatability

    I have a cement type septic tank and a septic field. I have a water softener. The softener uses salt when it regenerates every three or four days and drains into the septic system. I'm wondering if the salty water could degrade the cement over many years or if it kills beneficial bacteria in the tank. What do you think?

  • #2
    Concrete type septic tanks are the ones which would fail first before a fiber glass or poly tank. The problems associated with the concrete tanks have more to do with the soil they are buried in. the alkalinity or acidity in the soil is what chews up these tanks. The softened water should have a ph of 7, which is neutral.

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    • #3
      When my system regenerates it flushes the water out a seperate line to the ground, the grass doesn't seem to mind and actually gets a darker green color in that area but not so much that it is unsightly or really noticable. Only I can detect the color difference it seems as I know where the water drains away from the house and across the yard.

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      • #4
        Re: cement septic tank/ water softener compatability

        Originally posted by imported_Bob D. View Post
        When my system regenerates it flushes the water out a seperate line to the ground, the grass doesn't seem to mind and actually gets a darker green color in that area but not so much that it is unsightly or really noticable. Only I can detect the color difference it seems as I know where the water drains away from the house and across the yard.
        Needs to go to sanitary sewer not drain on lawn.

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        • #5
          Re: cement septic tank/ water softener compatability

          Originally posted by EasyEman View Post
          Needs to go to sanitary sewer not drain on lawn.
          Yes, it should, but will the salt cause a problem with the bacterial action of the system?

          It's funny you brought this up as I was doing a job last Saturday and wondered the same thing.

          I never considered the salt causing a problem with the cement as that has more to do with freeze thaw cycles, but what kind of stress will it cause the bio system itself?
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          • #6
            Re: cement septic tank/ water softener compatability

            I can't say if it causes a problem or not, but I can say that mine is going into the septic for 18 years now and no problems.

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            • #7
              Re: cement septic tank/ water softener compatability

              The information that I have read say that it does not negatively effect the septic Cultures.

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              • #8
                Re: cement septic tank/ water softener compatability

                Some people around here use the potassium pellets in ther softeners instead of salt to supposedly keep their bacteria in the septic healthy. It costs more though, but you can drink the water and water plants with it.

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                • #9
                  Re: cement septic tank/ water softener compatability

                  Salt has been proven to have no negative effect on the septic tank in normal amounts. Neither will it effect the concrete as the slimey poo pretty much coats the tank anyway.
                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Re: cement septic tank/ water softener compatability

                    I'm in the process of replacing my 20 yr old concrete septic tank right now. The top collapsed 2 days ago. When we dug it up the side walls and outlet baffle were all rotted out. 18 yrs of water softener salt and the whole tank rotted right out. Salt kills concrete whether above or below ground.

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                    • #11
                      Re: cement septic tank/ water softener compatability

                      I was unaware that concrete rots.

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                      • #12
                        Re: cement septic tank/ water softener compatability

                        Salt kills the bacteria. Not killing the plants and grass has me wondering if the unit is working properly. In Florida softeners have a life of 3-5 years before the mineral beds needs replaced.
                        There are places that deem water softeners unsafe for their sanitary sewers.
                        I am awaiting information form a particular water filter company for proof of advertising. They claim 10 states that have passed legislation against water softeners and green plumbing. I am waiting for the proof of other claims that the filter makes before offering it to our clients.

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                        • #13
                          Re: cement septic tank/ water softener compatability

                          A lot of misinformation flying around in here.

                          To date the only in depth study on softener discharge into septic systems has been done by the WQA. Their study found softener discharge had no negative impact on septic systems and in some cases had a positive effect on percolation.

                          A summery can be found here.

                          http://www.wqa.org/pdf/Consumer%20Br...probseptic.pdf

                          If you are a WQA member you can get the full report online.

                          Anecdotal evidence of septic problems is not scientific evidence. If anyone has a scientific study finding any negative consequences I'd be happy to reconsider my position.

                          The amount of salt in softener discharge is insufficient to have any effect on concrete.

                          For those of you claiming salt kills bacteria compare that statement to the worlds oceans. They are bacteria free right?

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                          • #14
                            Re: cement septic tank/ water softener compatability

                            Originally posted by boytyperanma View Post
                            A lot of misinformation flying around in here.

                            To date the only in depth study on softener discharge into septic systems has been done by the WQA. Their study found softener discharge had no negative impact on septic systems and in some cases had a positive effect on percolation.

                            A summery can be found here.

                            http://www.wqa.org/pdf/Consumer%20Br...probseptic.pdf

                            If you are a WQA member you can get the full report online.

                            Anecdotal evidence of septic problems is not scientific evidence. If anyone has a scientific study finding any negative consequences I'd be happy to reconsider my position.

                            The amount of salt in softener discharge is insufficient to have any effect on concrete.

                            For those of you claiming salt kills bacteria compare that statement to the worlds oceans. They are bacteria free right?
                            I get conflicting reports on the effect on bacteria from different environmental scientists/inspectors. Some say no effect, some say do not connect to the septic system.

                            I do NOT believe the discharge solution is a proven factor in concrete degradation of a septic tank. Crushed & replaced many that never had any softener connected to them. Did not keep track of their age though. Some very old, some not so old.

                            I believe the quality of the concrete for the tank is a major contributing factor to failure. Along with the tank design, manufacturing, and how it was backfilled.

                            We used to make them. At one time, there was no standard. We made a heavier tank with a higher cost & psi concrete along with metal reinforcement. Never had a problem. Pumped or repaired other manufacturers and the lids weighed about 1/2 & sometimes did not have any wire mesh at all or a ligher grade spread out. In short, weaker.

                            Also, the gas in the atmosphere of a tank can be very corrosive. I have seen tanks with concrete precast traps that had been completely eaten away by the gas & bacteria.

                            I have not seen anything to conclude it comes from a water softener.

                            J.C.

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                            • #15
                              Re: cement septic tank/ water softener compatability

                              Believe what you will.
                              My observations are that the tank lid and wall were severely decomposed. The residual material that remained intact was encrusted with a white crystaline salty looking residue.
                              The concrete baffle was eaten right through.
                              Our soil is clay and tends to be fairly alkaline which should be non-detrimental to concrete. Fact is there wasnt any evidence of attack on the outside of the tank. It was all on the inside.
                              The sewage pumpers that turned out were quick to ask if a softener was involved when they saw the damage.
                              I vote for salt influenced concrete degradation.

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