There are over thirty million households in the United Claims currently using on-site septic systems, and that number appears to be increasing. We have many concerns from your customers as to what result (if any) drinking water softener discharge has on a these systems. With such a new wide range associated with information and thoughts available, we sensed that it was appropriate in order to examine a number of the research on this subject, and try to accurately present a great overview of present understanding.
The Septic System and Drinking water Softening Process
Septic system function is incredibly straightforward. Your houses plumbing is piped into an in-ground storage tank. When wastewater enters this tank, the heavier solids settle to typically the bottom. Bacteria present in the storage tank digest the solids, breaking this down to the liquid. αποσκληρυντης νερου After this kind of process is comprehensive, relatively clear normal water is discharged coming from the primary fish tank into a second holding tank or distribution box. Drinking water then re-enters the surrounding soil through the drainage field composed of perforated undercover piping.
The softening process is accomplished by a chemical substance cation exchange that replaces the calcium and magnesium inside your water with a good equivalent number of sodium or potassium ions. In the softening process, your household water passes by way of the resin cargo area, and the magnesium (mg) and calcium comprised in the drinking water are removed. The sized resin bed has a repaired capacity to remove firmness before it wants to be regenerated to full potential in order in order to continue to offer softened water (for example, one cu foot of resin has the capacity to remove thirty two, 000 grains associated with hardness from the water). When the particular resin bed will be nearing exhaustion, the particular control valve flushes the resin cargo area, and draws sodium containing solution from the brine fish tank through the botanical. As being the salt associates the resin bed, the ion exchange occurs, and typically the magnesium and calcium (hardness) that has been collected in the sleep during operation will be washed to strain. After an ultimate rinse to get rid of the excess salt, the resin cargo area is again willing to provide softened normal water.
The concern of discharging water softeners into an on-site septic system develops away from a belief that sodium salts employed by water softeners throughout the regeneration level – or the increased level of drinking water entering into the device – may be harmful and quite possibly cause septic systems to fail. While there is no scientific data available that helps harmful effects, there have been many investigations to the potential for troubles to occur.
The Impact of Sodium Salt on Septic Techniques
Common knowledge facilitates that higher levels of sodium salt can have a direct impact upon bacterial life types. For example, most germs usually found within fresh water environments would be not able to reside in a new high salinity surroundings like an sea. For that reason, concern had been generated that solid waste systems that depend so heavily about bacterial action might be effected simply by high concentrations involving sodium.
These worries seem to get unwarranted. First, the typical residential size water softener secretions between 40 and even 70 gallons regarding water per revitalization. Through much of the regeneration process, freshwater is discharged, containing no sodium at all, so the total concentration regarding salt is very thin down. However, during a few stages of reconstruction, the sodium concentration can reach just as high a five, 000 to twelve, 000 ppm intended for brief periods of time.
In order to see if this amount of sodium impacted microorganisms typically discovered in aerobic on-site septic systems, the study was carried out that exposed these microbes to a the worst thing would be of 10, 000 ppm brine answer. The study concluded that “there had been no statistically considerable differences in the particular metabolic activity of the microbial community”, which it had been “unlikely that downfalls in domestic water treatment system happen to be the result associated with contact with the part from your home water softeners. ” (1)
Various other studies indicate of which the effect of adding softened water into septic system can easily actually be beneficial. There is the very low level of sodium contained throughout softened water. With regard to every grain regarding hardness removed, around 8 ppm (parts per million) involving sodium is additional. Although some natural water sources have very high sodium levels, softened drinking water normally has some sort of slightly elevated salt level vs . without treatment hard water. When this concentration is commonly insignificant at normal hardness levels, these types of higher sodium levels are more inside the optimal range for septic method bacterial growth, in addition to can promote bacterial development. (2, 7)
The Effect associated with Increased Water Amount from Water Softeners on Septic Techniques
While the volume of water discharged simply by a water softener during the regeneration process will fluctuate depending on drinking water pressure, pipe size, and softener style, water softeners usually use 40 to be able to 70 gallons of water during reconstruction. Questions have already been raised as to be able to what effect this specific increased volume associated with water (hydraulic load) might have on septic system performance. Did the flow charge and volume regarding water softener getting into the system throughout water softener revitalization adversely effect the conventional settling process, and enable solids to enter the drain field?
Investigations by NSF International determined that the additional volume of water because of softener regeneration is not really sufficient to trigger any harm to be able to septic tank devices. Actually water softener regeneration flow level and volume is definitely lower compared to common discharge from an automatic washing machine. (3) Further, old design “time clock” structured water softeners regenerated as set about a calendar foundation, normally one to two occasions per week instructions the newer generation of metered (on demand) water softeners measure household water consumption, and only regenerate as needed – this even more reduces the number of water discharged in the solid waste system.
The Effect associated with Water Softener Salt Discharge on Percolation in Septic Drain Fields
There have been a few anecdotal evidence of which sodium included with solid waste systems by a normal water softener could have undesirable effects on typically the ability for typically the drain field ground to percolate properly.
Many studies have been performed to research this issue (2, 5, 6), and seem to indicate that water softener reconstruction discharge will not conflict with drain industry percolation, but could possibly improve percolation throughout finely textured garden soil. This may end up being due to the higher calcium focus present in softener reconstruction discharge. When this specific “calcium rich” water enters the strain field, it occasionally increased the porosity with the soil (dependent within the type involving soil present), enhancing the percolation method. To further assistance this finding, gypsum, another calcium rich material, has long been used for this same purpose.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The results of our assessment are corroborated by a news sheet published simply by the Environmental Defense Agency(5), that items out the subsequent:
a) High levels of calcium plus magnesium in typically the softener backwash water have no deleterious effect on the particular biological function occurring within the septic tank and could, in certain cases, be useful.
b) The additional volume of sewage generated is included slowly to the particular wastewater stream, and does not result in any hydraulic overload problems.
c) Dirt structure in typically the soil absorption industry is positively impacted by the calcium and magnesium ions in water softener effluent.
According to a detailed evaluation details and studies performed in this place to date, we conclude that water softener regeneration discharge does not adversely impact common on-site aerobic septic systems. Slightly elevated degrees of sodium within regeneration discharge perform not seem to effect septic system microorganisms, and might indeed the actual septic process.
Other issues seem to participate in a much even more important role inside proper septic fish tank function. You need to always minimize the amount of family cleaners that enter the waste flow. Whenever possible, slow up the use of cleaning soap and harsh substance cleaners, and think about “natural” products made up of lower levels of phosphates. If you already have a new water softener set up, remember that you are able to reduce the sum of soap use substantially – by simply as much while 50% to 73% – soap simply no longer has to work as hard to remove the nutrients already removed by a water softener. Stay away from a garbage removal with an on-site septic, as lessening these kinds of organic waste products will reduce typically the load within the program. And finally, reduce when possible how much water flowing into the system from showers, baths, washing equipment and dishwashers.
Job in this area is on-going, along with a symposium discussing this issue is scheduled intended for March, 2006 in Chicago. A joint task force has been established between the particular Water Quality Relationship (WQA) and the National Onsite Spend Recycling Association (NOWRA) to plan and oversee joint pursuits and investigate virtually any future findings. Problems of specific on-site septic systems may also be reviewed by this task push as a way to determine the cause.
In conclusion, in addition to after reviewing a selection of scientific studies to gain a present-day understanding of this problem, it appears of which owners of onsite septic systems may continue to delight in the benefits that softened water offers, without concerns involving system damage.