©2018 Mahoning Valley Water Inc.  Water Softeners Pose No Problems For Septic Tanks      An estimated 20 million on-site household sewage disposal systems are in place in the United States.  Many of these systems have operating problems from time to time.  It is natural that homeowners, local contractors, installers, and regulatory personnel should look for the reasons for these problems and, perhaps inevitable, that some blame water conditioning equipment.      The supposition that could be used to eliminate water softeners might be as follows:  "Everyone knows that lack of or excessive amounts of salt will kill bacteria, and if a home with a water softener has a problem, it could be caused by the softener.  Anyway, it is better to advise against softeners, which might cause a problem, than to take a chance."      In the mid 1970's, this kind of reasoning led entire states to enact regulations prohibiting the discharge from water softeners to private sewage disposal systems causing several tests to be conducted to determine if, in fact, water softener effluent was a problem.  All of these tests came to the same conclusion.  Water softener effluent is not harmful to septic systems.      The latest two tests were conducted by the University of Wisconsin- Madison and by the National Sanitation Foundation.  The purpose of the studies was to provide documented answers to the following questions: 1.  Is the salt-brine discharge from water softener regeneration toxic to bacteria in the treatment system? 2.  Does the flow rate and volume of backwash and regeneration water discharged from a water softener have an effect on the settling and floatation process causing carryover of solids into the drain field? 3.  Does water softener regenerational discharge reduce the percolation of water through the soil in seepage fields by causing swelling of soil particles?      The results of the studies by the scientists at the University and at the NSF confirmed earlier government tests.  The finding were: 1.  Water softener waster effluents actually exert a beneficial influence on a septic tank system operation by stimulating biological action in the septic tank and cause no operational problems in the typical anaerobic or aerobic septic tanks. 2.  The volume of softener wastes are added to the septic tank slowly and are not of sufficient volume to cause any deleterious hydraulic load problems in septic tank systems.  In fact, they are lower in volume and rate of addition than waste from many automatic washers. 3.  Water softener regenerational wastes not only should not interfere with septic tank system drain field soil percolation but actually might improve soil percolation, particularly in fine textured soils. MAHONING VALLEY WATER