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  • Water Sofener Drains

    I have searched and there is not much information about legal water softener drains. I have been losing a lot of installations because the cost to run a drain line to the sewer and build a proper drain with air gap is often near $1000.

    The code books don't have very much information on softeners.

    They do say that you cannot run it into a vent on the roof it is a combination or wet vent on different levels... no good.

    So is there a less expensive legal way to run a drain for them?

  • #2
    Re: Water Sofener Drains

    LOL... for something that was first marketed in 1903 there sure is a lack of information.

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    • #3
      Re: Water Sofener Drains

      Softeners can push their discharge up. I have run some overhead, across joists, then dumped into a floor drain. Softeners can also be discharges into a sump pit.

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      • #4
        Re: Water Sofener Drains

        Be aware though if you are in a rural application that you should not ever discharge into a septic tank. The large amount of salt water will kill the bacterial action in the tank.

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        • #5
          Re: Water Sofener Drains

          Where should you run the discharge to if you are on a septic system. I am very interested as I have had my water softener discharging into a floor drain for 4 years now and I am on septic! And naturally, my softener is located on the high side of a fully finished walkout basement which would make getting it to the back yard tough! Any ideas on improving this situation?

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          • #6
            Re: Water Sofener Drains

            I just got a copy of the 2009 International Private Sewage Disposal code as part of the IPC. It says the softener drain should go into the septic or onto the ground out side as long as it does not create a public nuisance.

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            • #7
              Re: Water Sofener Drains

              The brine rinse won't kill a septic system. Bacteria live in the ocean, don't it?

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              • #8
                Re: Water Sofener Drains

                Originally posted by shock1964 View Post
                Be aware though if you are in a rural application that you should not ever discharge into a septic tank. The large amount of salt water will kill the bacterial action in the tank.
                This is widely spread disinformation.

                All studies on softener discharge from the Water Quality Association have shown there is no harm in discharging a softener into a septic system. The studies have covered bacterial effect, damage to concrete casings and other common materials the water would be put in contact with, and build up of hardness and sodium agents causing draining issues. In all cases they have found no discernible negative effect. In some case the added hardness to the septic has been shown to have a positive effect on percolation.

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                • #9
                  Re: Water Sofener Drains

                  It has been a lot of years since I was in school. I am sure I was taught that about septic, but maybe I should have checked my info before posting. Gonna recheck my old notes and books. I am the first to admit that I still after almost 20 years in the trade am always learning new stuff or relearning some of what I had forgotten.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Water Sofener Drains

                    from Alberta Private Sewage Treatment and Disposal Regulations
                    " 8.6.1 Where a private sewage treatment and diaposal system is installed,
                    (a) storm water
                    (b) subsoil seepage
                    (c)waste water from a hot tub, spa or hydro massage bath exceeding a 2-person capacity
                    (d) wastes from a swimming pool, non-domestic water softener, water filter or other commercial water treatment device
                    (e) commercial or industrial process wastes, and
                    (f) wastes from an iron filter,
                    shall not be discharged into a treatment mound or disposal field."

                    My faulty memory that i did not remember it is refering to NON-domestic water softeners and their effect on the disposal field not the actual septic tank.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Water Sofener Drains

                      Further in the supplement to the code it also says
                      "The use of a water softener in conjunction with a sub-soil effluent system is not recommended as it will increase the sodium absorption ratio of the waste water entering the septic tank. If a water softener must be used, avoid the installation of water softeners that automatically backwash at preset intervals of time. This type of unit may discharge unneeded concentrations of salt into the disposal system.
                      If a softener must be use, 'sensing' of 'metering' type water softeners are preferred. These softeners only backwash or regenerate when hardness is sensed or after a preset volume of water has been used, reducing the total volume of salts discharged into the disposal system."

                      The sodium absorption ratio mentioned is an indicator of the sodium hazard of a water. Excess sodium in relation to calcium and magnesium concentration in soils destroys soil structure reducing permeability of soil to water and air. The higher the sodium absorption ratio of the potable water, and the higher the saturation percentage of the soil, the greater the probability of sewage disposal failure.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Water Sofener Drains

                        sorry for being so longwinded.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Water Sofener Drains

                          The issue with using local codes as a source for information is not all codes came into being because of actual issues. While I recommend following all codes it is not because I believe them to be correct.

                          I prefer being able to make decisions based on scientific data. When I read things like:

                          The sodium absorption ratio mentioned is an indicator of the sodium hazard of a water. Excess sodium in relation to calcium and magnesium concentration in soils destroys soil structure reducing permeability of soil to water and air. The higher the sodium absorption ratio of the potable water, and the higher the saturation percentage of the soil, the greater the probability of sewage disposal failure.
                          I expect to be able to read a study that confirms this to be true.

                          I've yet to read any study using scientific method that establishes softner discharge is harmful to septics.

                          I like the WQA studies because the WQA follows scientific method and is not blinded by bias they have an ethics panel that keeps them in line.

                          Some light reading can be found here http://www.wqa.org/pdf/Consumer%20Br...probseptic.pdf

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