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Serving Northern Virgina / Washington DC Metro Area Customers Since 1987

Resource Center: Is Your Water Softener Damaging Your Septic System?

Most water softeners work their magic using salt to treat the water that passes through it, and you probably have heard at some point salt is bad for your septic system. But is this true? The National Sanitation Foundation conducted several studies on this very topic and in the end, the decision was no; sodium, or salt, is not harmful to septic systems.

The water softener works through an ion exchange process that strips the minerals from the water that causes it to be "hard." The calcium and magnesium naturally occurring in the water-the minerals that cause the water to be considered "hard"-are replace with sodium, thereby making it "soft" water. Soft water is preferred by many homeowners because it requires less shampoo, detergent and soap for daily cleaning, as well as taste and smell improvements.

Traditionally, a septic system uses the anaerobic bacteria in the septic tank to attack organisms in the household sewage and wastewater that may be harmful. Every drop of water in the house that is poured or flushed down the drain goes to the septic tank. Homeowners often worry about the sodium, or salt, killing the bacteria necessary for maintaining this balance.

Research has shown the amount of sodium found in the septic system resulting from water softeners is quite low, ranging between 5,000 and 10,000 parts per million. When the water softener regenerates, or recharges, water is slowly released into the septic system, which is well within the limits of most adequate septic systems.

For more septic system maintenance tips and information, contact Soils and Environmental Services, Inc. Serving the Northern Virginia and Washington DC residential and commercial markets since 1987, Soils and Environmental Services, Inc. specializes in designing alternative septic systems and assessing septic tank options for homes, commercial properties, and sub-divisions.

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