There are many people in the hill country that have a septic system but also have to deal with problem hard water. There is much confusion about the effect soft water will have on a septic system and it is difficult to get a credible answer. So we will try to help by discussing how a septic system works and what impacts soft water will have on your septic system.
Conventional septic systems use anaerobic bacteria to breakdown household waste. Every drain in a home leads to the septic system the kitchen, the washing machine and the toilets to name the main ones. As the waste water enters the septic system liquids and solids are separated and liquids flow to the drainage field where the ground absorbs the water. In some systems the liquid waste water is used for fertilization and irrigation.
There are many different opinions on the old school grapevine about how a water softener affects a septic system. The truth is that the discharge from a water softener creates no problems for a septic system. In fact, a 1970’s study by the University of Wisconsin found that it actually was beneficial to the digestion of the waste eating bacteria. Furthermore, in 1993 the Environmental Protection Agency reviewed the study and found it to be correct sighting the fact that chemistry and physics of soils have not changed therefore the study’s conclusions remain correct and accurate.
Although there are many old school opinions about water softeners and septic systems at the end of the day they are just that, old school opinions. The fact remains that this issue has been studied by the University of Wisconsin and the study reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The conclusion is that water softeners will not hurt, but in fact, help protect your septic system helping it do its job. With all the worries of home ownership your water softener should not be one of them so enjoy the benefits of soft water knowing your septic system is safe and benefiting from it too.