Hard water options

llogbeckMarch 31, 2010

We recently moved from city water to rural water (not well). I love every part of living in the country BUT THE HARD WATER!!!

My hair is getting dry, my skin dry and itchy, dishes don't seem to come very clean and clothes are "crispy".

The problem is that we are on a septic system. The tank is brand new (aerobic), but the laterals have issues. Two of them are not functioning well (something that should resolve with the installation of the new tank) and two are.

My husband is worried about the salt and added water a traditional water softener might add to the septic system. I keep reading that there really isn't a good alternative.

Anyone with any experience? Your insight/advice would be greatly useful. Any options for just treating the water in the shower and/or appliances? Would a whole house filter help? Are the newer softeners that regenerate only when needed better?

It's really not an option to do nothing :(. My skin is making it hard to sleep (I have very sensitive skin to begin with)!

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If you have hard water the treatment is an ion exchange water softener... no ifs, ands, or buts,

NO FILTER removes hardness.

Along with removing hardness a softener will lengthen the service life of your plumbing, fixtures, appliances, clothes, save you a bunch on soap and detergents and make your hair silky smooth.

There is NO evidence that ion exchange softeners harm septic systems and you can research that using Google until your eyes bleed from reading.

Some locations prohibit running the softener effluent (drain water during regeneration) into a septic system but allow running it to a french drain.

A properly sized and correctly set up softener will use about 50 gallons of water or so on a weekly basis for regeneration for an average family and not too nasty water conditions. you definately want a contemporary softener that regenerates on demand as required.

Softeners do not add salt to the service water. They add sodium (if you use sodium chloride as a regenerant) or potassium (if you use potassium chloride as a regenerant) to the service water. The chlorides go to drain during regeneration and that goes to the septic or other drain.

As an example... we've been on our septic system for 15+ years. My water is 26 to 30 grains hard (that is ludicrous hard) and with a family of two and the softener regenerating every 8 days at maximum our septic system functions perfectly and gets pumped every 5 years. When the septic guy comes to pump he remarks that I could have waited another 5 years easy.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 9:11PM
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Thank you for your response! My main concern is the laterals. Most of what I've read say the septic itself should be fine, but the drain field could have problems. Since it already does, I hesitate to do anything "iffy".

We'll call our septic company and get their 2-cents.

I've also read that the discharge can go to a greywater system or even on the ground. We could discharge it to our gravel driveway, or do a greywater pit.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 10:10PM
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In general, septic people know alarmingly little about water treatment and that is a shame.

If you are having drain field problems then you have big fish to fry and a softener or not is small potatoes. According to everyhing I've read and my own experience a softener has little to no effect on a properly operating septic system. There are those I've read that disagree but so far haven't come up with any thing in the way of substantive data to prove their position.

You can just dig a french drain separate from the septic.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 10:40PM
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