Do Water Softeners Affect Septic System Health?

septic water softenerResearch on the relationship between septic systems and water softeners go as far back as the 1970s. The prevailing belief is that water softeners have a negative impact on the septic tank and drain field. Do the studies support this notion?

How Water Softeners Work

Water softeners remove mineral salts (usually calcium and magnesium) from water that can cause deposits in pipes and on flat surfaces. They provide your household with soft water and also prevent mineral buildup in the pipes.

Water softeners remove the mineral salts using resin beads. The water softener’s brine tank stores salt and adds water to the system to produce the brine. The salt water cleans the resin so the beads can do their job in a continuous cycle.

Do Water Softeners Damage Septic Systems?

The idea is that the brine discharge harms the beneficial microbes in the septic tank. This hampers the septic system’s ability to break down solids. The homeowner now needs to schedule more frequent septic tank pumping, or so that’s the belief.

According to studies, water softeners not only do not harm septic systems, but they actually help it. The soft water actually contributes to septic tank performance. The sodium in the brine also aids in bacterial health.

Having soft water also means less use of abrasive soaps and detergents when bathing or doing dishes. Reduced use of detergents means less strain on the septic system. Chemical-based cleaners interfere with effluent breakdown.

Some homeowners also express concerns that too much brine discharge can overwhelm the drain field. However, studies show that water softeners produce no more water discharge than any other water-using appliance.

Septic System Maintenance a Necessity

Regardless of whether you use a water softener, the septic system requires regular OSS inspections. Contact Lil John Sanitary Services for septic tank pumping and grease trap cleaning. The correlation between septic systems and water softener is not a cause for alarm.

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