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Will softened water hurt my septic tank?

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Updated: 12/23/2002 4:41 pm
Water softeners and septic tanks have co-existed in the same households for over 30 years now, with no obvious problems. Normally, the only water-softening materials that enter the septic tank are calcium, magnesium, and sodium chloride, or salt. These substances are not considered harmful to the system. And in most cases, they're not being discharged at a very high volume. This is especially true of the new, fully automatic water softeners, that recharge more often, but with smaller quantities of water and salt. Also, they're usually set to recharge after midnight, when other water usage is low. About the only time you might encounter difficulty is in a dry climate. Some arid regions have water that's so hard, it almost demands a softener. Yet the soil in such areas may be impermeable, which means water cannot easily move through it. This can create problems in the septic tank; one alternative is to install a service-type water softener, that doesn't discharge water into the system. For more information on how water softeners interact with septic tanks, consult your local water department, or a water conditioning company.

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